Pharmacies restricting movement of clients to protect employees ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

An Apotheka pharmacy at Tartu University Hospital (TÜK).
An Apotheka pharmacy at Tartu University Hospital (TÜK). Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Pharmacies are limiting the movement of clients in order to protect pharmacists from contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to Apotheka pharmacist Merle Niglas, pharmacies currently prefer to serve customers one at a time. "In addition to that we have limited people's movement so they cannot go 'wandering' around the pharmacy, the pharmacist will bring them everything necessary," Niglas told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

The Agency of Medicines (Ravimiamet) has published standards of protection regarding pharmacies. If a person with suspected coronavirus enters a pharmacy, workstations and other areas must be disinfected as soon as possible, although closing the pharmacy cannot be expected and it is very difficult to assess whether someone infected has been to a pharmacy.

"Actually we believe that some people carrying the virus already have been to pharmacies. We know that we work on the front line and we are doing everything to not be infected ourselves," Niglas said.

Hoarding of protective face masks has been ongoing since the coronavirus outbreak first began in China, and as a result, said masks have not been available at Estonian pharmacies for a while. According to the Estonian Pharmacies Association, it is vital that pharmacists should be able to continue using personal protection equipment in order to prevent pharmacies closing due to pharmacists falling ill.

Prescriptions can be issued now for chronic conditions for a period of up to two months; in the case of a multiple prescription, a pharmacy can dispense a single prescription for up to two months. Additionally, only two packs of over-the-counter medicine can be bought per product.

"In fact people are reasonable. We have printed the ministerial decree just in case but people understand that pharmaceuticals are for all," Niglas said.

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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