Tartu university dorm lockdown lifted for Coronavirus-negative students

The University of Tartu dorm on Raatuse street.
The University of Tartu dorm on Raatuse street. Source: Tartu City Goverrnment

Movement restrictions have been lifted for students staying at a Unversity of Tartu dormitory who have tested negative for the COVID-19 coronavirus and had had not contact with those that had tested positive. The hall of residence, on Raatuse 22 in central Tartu, had been on lock-down since an outbreak was detected among its near 300-strong complement; 16 cases were confirmed late on Saturday.

Tartu mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said no further cases had been found at the dorm on Sunday.

Separate zones were created for those infected, those who have had contact with the infected individuals, and those who have had neither, according to a Tartu city government press release. Those in the last group are no free to come and go from the dorm.

Since 16 cases have been detected and 27 have had contact with infected individuals, this means that the bulk of the students at the dorm have seen their movement restrictions lifted.

"All our partners have done excellent work and they have done their utmost in order to stop the virus from spreading at the dormitory," Urmas Klaas, who also heads up a Tartu city taskforce set up to curb the virus' spread, said.

"At the same time, we have to stay vigilant, because the disease is deceptive and young people often do not exhibit symptoms. For this reason, the Health Board has done thorough work in tracing and mapping people's movement retrospectively," Klaas added.

16 confirmed cases, further 27 came into contact with these

In total, 274 persons have been tested at the Raatuse dormitory as of Sunday, of whom 16 tested positive. Restrictions were put in place by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) on Friday, following the initial six confirmed cases, after consultation with various experts and authorities.

Residents with positive test results are prohibited from leaving their room until they are well.

Residents from all categories had been allowed into the dorm's backyard, segregated from those in other groups.

A total of 27 individuals who have had contact with infected cases have also been moved to a separate zone in the dormitory, where they are in a 14-day quarantine period.

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is monitoring compliance with the restrictions, and non-residents are still barred from visiting the dorm.

Food, cleaning etc. laid on by the authorities

Jüri Ratas placed movement restrictions on the Raatuse street students on Friday, April 17, after a proposal to do same by Margo Klaos, who heads up southern region operations related to the emergency situation.

Consultations were also held with Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, Tartu mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform), Tartu university rector Toomas Asser, and Irja Lutsar,  virology professor and head of the government's research council, before the order was given.

The University of Tartu has also laid on free catering, personal protective equipment, including 6,000 masks provided by the City of Tartu, and disinfectants, for the dorm's residents, with communal areas cleaned and their use reorganized. The university also provided information on the restrictions to the students.

A strategic headquarters headed up by Urmas Klaas which includes the city and university, the Health Board (terviseamet), the southern region rescue center, the PPA's Southern Prefecture, the Tartu emergency medical care center, and the Tartu student village is now in place, according to the city government.

The university also has its own crisis headquarters, led by the university's academic secretary, Tõnis Karki.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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