Mass testing of people for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be carried out in Estonia, starting with Saaremaa, to understand the spread of the virus, the government agreed on Thursday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), who took part in the cabinet meeting where the decision was made, wrote on social media: "We, in the government, decided on the organization of mass testing for the spread of the virus. At first mass testing will be carried out in Saaremaa in combination with a scientific survey. On the basis of its outcome, mass testing with surveys will be launched in the whole country."
Reinsalu said mass testing was a necessary step for restricting the virus and returning to normal life.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said mass testing would provide important information about how many people in Estonia have already suffered from COVID-19. This information is important in assessing the possibilities of further emergency restrictions, he noted.
The Ministry of Social Affairs, in co-operation with the Health Board and the COVID-19 Scientific Council, will propose a suitable antibody test for population-based testing.
"The main keywords here are quality, reliability and evidence-based. Research laboratories in Europe and around the world are currently validating various serological tests," said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik.
Editor: Helen Wright