Gallery: Tartu closes public sports grounds and playgrounds ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tartu City Government will close all publicly-owned sports and playgrounds to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) from Tuesday. The Tartu Crisis Team urges people to stay at home or keep a distance of two meters apart while outdoors.

The council have closed playgrounds and taped-up play equipment. It has have also hung-up red signs which say "Go Home!" (mine koju!) and that the area is closed.

Urmas Klaas, the Mayor of Tartu Crisis Team, said the decision to close public spaces was made as recent days have shown people have not understood the danger of the virus spreading at when people gather in groups. 

"It is understandable that in emergency situations people have a desire to spend time with their families in the open air; however, it is completely irresponsible for people to gather in large groups, thereby endangering the lives and health of themselves and others. Parents must explain the need for and the seriousness of the restrictions to children," the mayor said.

The Crisis Team also urges people not to gather in parks, on the banks of the River Emajõgi, at sports facilities, near the Anne Canal and other places. 

People should stay at home where possible, and keep to a minimum distance of two meters when outdoors. You should only go to the store when you need it and keep a distance there, the council said in a statement.

Professor Joel Starkopf, head of the Crisis Team at Tartu University Hospital, said isolation is the best way to limit the spread of the virus. 

"The recommendation for people to remain in isolation may seem inconvenient, but this is currently the only way to stop the virus from spreading. Although, statistically speaking, older people are the most endangered age group, we can already say, based on our experience here in Estonia, that young and recently healthy people have also reached our intensive care units in critical condition. Dear people, not only the health of our people but also our lives depend on your behaviour."

On Tuesday, all playgrounds and sports grounds were also closed in Tallinn.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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