Health Board chief doctor: We need unity on continued restrictions

Dr. Arkadi Popov.
Dr. Arkadi Popov. Source: ERR

Head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medicine department Dr. Arkadi Popov says that when the emergency situation declared in response to the coronavirus pandemic expires Sunday night, the public should continue to be responsible in avoiding infection. At the same time, continued restrictions should be based on consensus, even though the government has the casting vote, he said.

Those best practices should include the much vaunted 2+2 rule (maximum two people to congregate in public, families excepted, minimum two meters' distance from others in public-ed.), which Dr. Popov almost said had been the magic bullet in the fight to reduce the virus' spread.

"The 2 + 2 rule has been one of the cornerstones of this whole coronavirus crisis, and I certainly do not think it would be right to end it on May 18. The 2 + 2 rule must definitely continue to apply," said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said earlier this week, traditional Estonian reserve notwithstanding.

Doctor Popov said the Estonian public had the common sense to continue along such lines.

"Here, I wouldn't recommend sticking to certain [COVDI-19 test] samples, but rather think more about how I actually behave, how I can act so I don't get infected. The significant number here is two - two meters [exclusion zone] around me if when don't know people, but with whom I have to be in contact; this contact should not be for long, we can talk for 15 minutes max," Dr. Popov said, talking to ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Friday night.

Ending restrictions is not an easy step to make, Dr. Popov continued, adding that the government should have final say.

"This is very important - we must all get an 'amen' in the church, especially in a crisis situation," he said.

The 2 + 2 rule remains in force on the basis of the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act, which was amended this week.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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