The state is planning to start testing people with and without coronavirus (COVID-19) in the near future to get a better idea of the situation across the country, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR in an interview on Monday.
Kiik said the government's crisis committee discussed the topic on Monday in cooperation with researchers from the University of Tartu, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the National Institute for Health Development (Tervise Arengu Instituut).
"The idea is to start random testing in the near future in both symptomatic and asymptomatic populations. To get a better picture of how many coronavirus carriers there are in Estonia. What is the distribution across counties, how many people are asymptomatic carriers and in turn see the dynamics of how it changes from week to week. Do we see a growth trend, a stable trend, a downward trend," Kiik said.
He said initially it is planned to use rapid PCR tests which are currently used for testing.
"All this is necessary, on the one hand, to better plan treatment and the organization of hospitals. And also to provide the state with a complete picture to make decisions, both in the current situation and on developments concerning the implementation of various measures or, conversely, mitigation. The prerequisite for all this is a good and reliable overview of the real picture," Kiik said.
He told ERR the plan is to launch testing as soon as possible as the idea has initially been agreed upon by the University of Tartu, Ministry of Education and Research and the National Institute for Health Development, but funding also has to be decided.
The new process is about getting an overview of the entire country, he said, and making sure a representative sample of the population is studied.
Editor: Helen Wright