Prime minister: Pandemic situation likely to worsen in coming weeks ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While the government is preparing an exit strategy plan from the coronavirus emergency situation, this should not be taken to mean the peak has been reached, and in fact the situation is likely to get worse in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) says. Ratas also said that no further restrictions, on movement on top of those already in place, were on the horizon.

Ratas, in his role as head of the emergency situation as well as prime minister, said there were no plans at present to tighten further movement restrictions, though safe movement of those age 70 plus, seen as a high risk group, had been discussed at Thursday's government crisis meeting, he said on ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera".

"Today we discussed what more can be done to ensure that older people do not have to leave their homes to go to shopping malls, service centers and stores," Ratas said, adding that consideration should be given to introducing a four-square-meter personal space rule in shops.

Stores inside shopping malls are closed, with the exception of pharmacies, mobile phone stores, bank offices and a few other essential service providers.

Ratas also said that while an exit plan was in the process of being drawn up, this does not mean that the peak of the crisis has been reached – in fact the situation is likely to get worse in the next few weeks.

"*We have been drawing up a strategic plan today, including an exit plan, but this does not mean that we have overcome the crisis and are gradually starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, this cannot be said at present," Ratas said, also noting the more-than-doubling of the number of reported coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday.

There have been some positive developments as well, Ratas said, though this should not be taken to mean any type of recovery either.

"If we look at other areas, such as hospitalizations, there has been some stabilization, but no conclusions can be drawn from these past few days. Unfortunately, forecasts show that the picture will get worse rather than better in the coming weeks," Ratas reiterated.

On the question of mass COVID-19 testing, which has been raised this week, Ratas said that he supports it in principle, but the practice presupposes having test kits to hand that are reliable, high-quality and easy-to-use.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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