Health Board chief doctor: Tallinn has also peaked in coronavirus cases

The Health Board's crisis team chief doctor, Dr. Arkadi Popov.
The Health Board's crisis team chief doctor, Dr. Arkadi Popov. Source: ERR

There are no concerns that the rate of coronavirus in Tallinn is increasing in any age group, head of the Health Board's crisis team Dr. Arkadi Popov said Wednesday. Earlier media reports had said the capital was bucking the national trend for an overall fall in cases.

COVID-19 cases in Tallinn make up around three quarters of those for the whole of Harju County, it is reported (Tallinn with a population of around 434,000 people makes up a bit more than three quarters of Harju County's overall population – a little under 612,000 – in any case-ed.).

"There were rather serious concerns last week about how infection curves behave and whether the number of infected people in Tallinn is growing or stabilizing," Dr. Popov said at a press conference Wednesday.

"Today it can be said that positive dynamics can also be observed in the Tallinn region," he went on.

Coronavirus rate among seniors now falling too

"Last week, there was a concern that people up to the age of 50 in Tallinn were those experiencing higher levels of infection. Today, we can see a downward trend in this group as well," he noted.

Doctor Popov said that the peak of coronavirus infections is falling in the capital too. 

"It (i.e. the peak in Tallinn-ed.) ran from April 16 to 20, April 21. To make sure we are moving down, we look at test results, which are also on a downward trend."

Clarification on where and how around two-thirds of Tallinn cases picked up the infection has been established, but many of the remainder have not been able to explain where the infection could take place. 

"This is a factor that tells us that we do not yet have the perfect picture. We are dealing with the problem and we need to be careful in public places and social distancing is still important," Popov said.

140 active coronavirus cases in capital

The rate of infections in Tallinn is currently reported at one in 3,000, meaning that in the normal run of things, when moving around in the capital, there is a 0.03 percent chance of coming into contact with a person carrying COVID-19, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

As of Wednesday, there are 140 active coronavirus cases in Tallinn, all under the supervision of epidemiologists. 175 people who have been in contact with those infected are also being monitored, and there is a change of these falling sick, Dr. Popov went on.

Doctor Popov said that it could not be said that any outbreaks in Tallinn, where many become infected at once, have occurred.

Fears emerged in the media late last week that several apartment buildings in the city had been infection hotspots.

There are no specific districts of the city which have experienced a higher-than-average level of infections, either, Dr. Popov said.

Mayor: Tallinn is completing its exit strategy

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said on Wednesday that although decisions on the capital are primarily based on what the national government says, the peculiarities of Tallinn as a municipality with a high population density must be taken into account, meaning restrictions there cannot be relaxed at the same pace as other municipalities.

Kõlvart said Wednesday that an exit strategy for Tallinn is currently being prepared, with a specific timetable and action points. 

The mayor explained that the current situation in Tallinn is being analyzed, with findings that the disinfection of playgrounds and outdoor gyms as prescribed by the government could not be instigated adequately, meaning the city's open air sports and playgrounds will remain closed for the time being.

While the government earlier in the week green-lighted open air public playgrounds and sports fields to open from Friday, though still applying the 2+2 rule, the capital announced it would be keeping its facilities closed for the time being.

"It is not possible to guarantee the conditions set out in the [government ] order, ie to disinfect users [of sports facilities] after each use. This is not realistic for us," the mayor said, adding there were 55 city-owned such facilities.

Finally opening outdoor playgrounds, sports facilities and also dog exercise grounds would be part of the city's own exit strategy, he added.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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