Random coronavirus testing being introduced to give state clearer picture ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Coronavirus testing in Viljandi.
Coronavirus testing in Viljandi. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

The state plans to launch random coronavirus testing in Estonia next week, in conjunction with Tartu University, to get a clearer picture of the extent of its spread and how resources might better be allocated. Testing is conducted on a voluntary basis.

Professor Ruth Kalda of the University of Tartu said that random testing will provide information on the prevalence of the coronavirus in the populace as a whole. Currently, data is only available for those who have been tested. The random testing will include subjects who have exhibited no symptoms of the virus.

Professor Ruth Kalda of the University of Tartu said that random testing will provide information on the prevalence of the coronavirus in the populace as a whole. Currently, data is only available for those who have been tested. The random testing will include subjects who have exhibited no symptoms of the virus.

Testing will be conducted randomly, it is reported, over a three month period and weekly reports are to be sent to a government commission.

Testing might need to be wider and more diverse

Undersecretary at the Ministry of Education and Research Indrek Reimand told "Akutaalne kaamera" that in the opinion of the government's special committee, a somewhat larger sample was required than the proposal of the University of Tartu had propose, however.

"The aim would be having a statistically certain result by county. This would probably mean testing a few thousand people a week," Reimand said.

Aivar Voog, research expert at pollsters Kantar Emor, said all socio-demographic groups should be covered by the sample, including different ethnicities, regions, gender and age groups. 

"These are the usual criteria that are then followed in random sampling," he noted.

Participation in the study is voluntary and at present the plan is to check for symptoms – with all those who present with symptoms being taken to an existing drive-in test center as per existing protocol.

"This same system or this existing capability is also used for those who are asymptomatic, but this is done in a completely separate way or at different times so that the sick and the healthy do not come into contact [with each other]," Ruth Kalda explained.

Kalda added that strict protection measures are also in any case applied when testing asymptomatic people; the same tests are used for testing as with those who exhibit symptoms, she said.

Download the ERR News app for Android and iOS now and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: