Government relaxes movement restrictions at student dormitory in Tartu

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

Movement restrictions placed on a University of Tartu student dormitory were eased by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on Saturday. The dorm was closed after several students tested positive for coronavirus in mid-March.

Restrictions were lifted for all healthy students at Raatuse 22 on the orders of Ratas, who is the person in charge of the emergency situation. Police surveillance of the building will end. In total, 19 residents of the dormitory tested positive for COVID-19.

The majority of the residents who tested positive have been declared free of the disease, and those in close contact with them have been in quarantine for 14 days, as required.

Four residents who tested positive on April 29 and three persons who have been in close contact with them will stay in isolation in their designated apartments in the dormitory. They will complete a 14-day quarantine.

At the final meeting of the strategic headquarter on Saturday it was agreed the restrictions of movement and the separation of residents within the dormitory have produced the desired results.  

Mayor Urmas Klaas, head of the Tartu crisis team, thanked all parties for their excellent work. "All authorities were very operational in their work and quickly joined forces to stop the virus from spreading further from the hotspot," he said.

In total, 19 residents of the dormitory tested positive for the disease. Of them, 16 students received their results between April 16 and 18, and the remaining persons tested positive on April 29, when a repeat test was carried out. Forty people have been isolation at the dormitory due to close contact. In total, 274 persons were tested.

On April 17, a movement restriction was enacted at Raatuse dormitory after an order was signed by the prime minister to lock down the building to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The lockdown was introduced after several residents tested positive after attending a party in the dormitory.

In cooperation with the Student Village, the University of Tartu followed guidelines set out by the Health Board and the Tartu Ambulance Foundation to thoroughly reorganise living arrangements at the dormitory.

The residents were relocated within the dormitory, so infected persons, those with close contact and negative persons would be in separate areas.

Residents whose movement was restricted were provided with free catering, personal protective equipment, and disinfectants.

The first 6,000 face masks handed out to residents of the dormitory were given to the university by the city of Tartu.

Healthy persons in quarantine were also provided the opportunity to spend time outdoors.

The restriction of movement was verified by the police based on identity documents. The Tartu Ambulance Foundation and the Health Board also arranged a general practitioner for foreign students who had fallen ill.

In total there have been 103 cases of coronavirus diagnosed in Tartu County and 1,699 in total across Estonia. 

The head of the emergency situation has eased the restrictions for some residents of Raatuse 22 dormitory

On Saturday evening Ratas signed an order lifting restrictions for the majority of students at Raatuse 22. Healthy people will still have to stick to the 2+2 movement rules. The order is published in full below:

"The head of the emergency situation, Jüri Ratas, today signed an order that softens the movement restrictions for the residents of Tartu Raatuse 22 dormitory.

"Those close contacts who have been subject to a movement restriction for two weeks and have not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 will henceforth only be subject to national movement restrictions for healthy people.

"A person who has been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus on or after April 29 will henceforth be subject to the general conditions for close contacts listed in point 4 of Order No. 52 of the Emergency Manager.

"There is also no longer a need for a clause requiring the application of a movement restriction to those residents of Raatuse 22 who are awaiting a test result, as all persons have been tested to date.

"Healthy residents of the dormitory will be able to communicate with other people in the future, observing only national restrictions.

"The previous order on Raatus 22 is being amended because the vast majority of dormitory residents are healthy, but it is still necessary to apply restrictions to persons who have tested positive on April 29 or later.

"The measures established by the order shall remain in force until the order is amended and their necessity shall be assessed every two weeks at the latest. The order enters into force upon signing."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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