The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is increasing its number of street patrols, to ensure compliance with restrictions announced by the government Thursday evening aimed at countering the spread of coronavirus.
Appearing on ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Tuesday night, PPA chief Elmar Vaher, said that: "As a result of today's decisions by the government, we also decided to increase the number of patrol police officers in public space, to better assist in resolving the situation."
Vaher said the first thing people need to be aware of is the need to maintain a safe distance, set at two meters, adding that the PPA has the power to enforce this where needed.
"Our first measure is definitely to persuade people to think about the importance of health come what may. This is a situation that we all have to solve together in the crisis situation. However, if words are not enough, Estonian law allows us to intervene more forcefully," Vaher said.
The restrictions the government announced Tuesday evening have come into effect on Wednesday, March 25, and include a requirement to keep two meters minimum from others in public places, including beaches and parks, and limits the number of people permitted to assemble in public to two (this does not extend to families, who may continue to move around in public places, together).
Playgrounds and sports grounds are also closed.
Vaher said the PPA would be assisted in its work by the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit), the Tax and Customs Board and also the Environmental Inspectorate (Keskkonnainspektsioon).
"These have been helping us for a long time and we will definitely rely on them in the future," said Vaher.
Editor: Andrew Whyte