The Health Board announced on Tuesday that due to changes to the epidemiological situation, the agency had decided to move from the emergency phase to the risk of emergency phase.
Director General of the Health Board Merike Jürilo announced that due to the number of cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, the risk level can be relaxed and Estonia can move from the emergency phase to the risk of emergency phase.
In other words, while Estonia was in phase 2 at the conclusion of the emergency situation in mid-May, it is now shifting to phase 1. This is unlikely to change again for some time, however, as the number of COVID-19 cases is seeing a slight increase, and the Health Board is prepared to launch infection control plans if necessary.
The risk of emergency phase means that the powers of medical emergency chief Arkadi Popov have now been suspended, however some of his previously issued orders involving scheduled medical care and hospitals' preparedness will remain in effect.
Jürilo stressed that the key message will remain the same: "The illness has not disappeared from Estonia; we must remain very attentive and alert, and ensure that institutions in the healthcare sector have personal protective equipment (PPE)," she said, adding that it must likewise be ensured that the virus does not spread uncontrolled at hospitals and in care homes.
"The risk of an emergency developed due to the lack of PPE," Jürilo noted. "We also restricted scheduled care for this reason."
Martin Kadai, head of the Emergency Medicine Department at the Health Board, said that the main lesson learned in this crisis has been that the state must prepare for such situations during peaceful times in order to ensure sufficient stocks of PPE, among other things. The fact that there would be issues with these stocks was clear to the Health Board in early February already, when China had shut down its own production and supply chains due to the outbreak.
Editor: Aili Vahtla