Head of the Health Board's emergency medicine department Martin Kadai told ERR that he did not expect this escalation of the events, but Estonia's strategy has been to remain calm throughout.
"I must say in all honesty that I did not expect this escalation of the events. We are now in a completely new situation, a new normality," Kadai said on ETV's current affairs show "RIngvaade".
Estonia's strategy has been to remain calm from the beginning, as panicking is not going to help, Kadai said and expressed the hope that the outbreak will not escalate into any kind of security event on a global level.
A risk assessment completed in 2018 considers the threat of a pandemic serious and likely in Estonia. After that, proposals to introduce and supplement civil protection equipment were made, but the document was tabled and the crisis preparation financing never made it to the state budget.
Kadai does not want to point any fingers and finds that the problem why the sector is underfunded lies in the society. "The real culprit is actually our society as a whole. None of us really demand the money, either. National defense has it's line in the state budget, but the defense of the population, civil defense, does not have a budget of its own. This is major issue for the society as a whole," Kadai said.
Kadai thought it possible that policy and decision makers can quickly forget that funding a sector needs consistency, not a one-off contribution. The only remedy for that would be a social agreement on the proportion of the civil defense budget.
Even though masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment have finally been delivered to Estonia, they only cover the critical need for one or two weeks. It is necessary to keep ordering equipment constantly.
"The situation today is a lot better than a month ago. Some usual supply chains have already opened," Kadai added.
Editor: Anders Nõmm