The end of the government's emergency situation (eriolukord), which expired at midnight Sunday, does not equate to the end of required measures to deal with the coronavirus risk, the Health Board (Terviseamet) says.
Merike Jürilo, Director General of the Health Board, noted that the incidence of coronavirus in Estonia is currently low, but even in the emergency situation which began on March 12, the spread of the virus has not been completely halted.
The emergency situation was primarily to prevent meltdown of the healthcare sector as a whole, Jürilo noted on the Health Board's website.
"The main idea of the emergency situation from the point of view of health care was to keep the virus at a level which would not impair the work of our hospitals and ambulance services," she said, adding that this goal was met.
"At the same time, we must understand that the coronavirus does not think too much about the legal order and will continue to spread rapidly, where it gets the chance. This means staying sick at home, good hand hygiene practices and maintaining a polite distance from others must become the norm in society," she went on.
"At the same time, we must understand that the coronavirus does not think too much about the legal order and will continue to spread rapidly, where it gets the chance.This means staying sick at home, good hand hygiene practices and maintaining a polite distance from others must become the norm in society," she went on.
Jürilo had in late April faced political pressure from Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), who hit out at the board's handling of the crisis.
Coronavirus primarily spreads from an infectious person to a healthy one through close contact, where the latter is considered to be a situation of people getting closer than two meters from one another for a period of 15 minutes or more.
COVID-19 is a droplet infection caused by human-to-human sneezing and coughing, as well as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which propagates via contaminated surfaces and unwashed hands, the board says.
Merike Jürilo noted the Health Board is to definitely continue co-operation with [chief of its crisis team] Dr. Arkadi Popov and Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) doctor, Lt-col. Ahti at least until the beginning of June. The Health Board will also continue to work closely with researchers.
Jürilo also thanked the public for its behavior during the emergency situation.
"The Health Board appreciates and thanks both those responsibly-behaving citizens, and our partners, who have supported us in the fight against COVID."
She also noted that a second wave could be forthcoming in the autumn, adding that the country was better prepared than it had been for the first wave from the end of February.
"In the autumn, we will definitely be smarter both in Europe and Estonia, than we were in the spring of this year."
"I sincerely hope that the habits of people during the crisis in terms of infection safety and hygiene have come to stay," she added.
The Health Board has been supported in solving the crisis by, among others, employees of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the EDF and the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) and its women's corollary, Naiskodukaitse; the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), the Rescue Board (Päästeamet), the State Chancellery, the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences (Sisekaitseakadeemia), hospitals and ambulance service providers, medical staff, the health insurance fund (Haigekassa), local governments, private sector firms SYNLAB Eesti OÜ, AS Medicum and Adovici OÜ, the family doctor's advice line (1220) and the crisis helpline (1247).
Editor: Andrew Whyte