Last remaining coronavirus restrictions could be lifted in July
The last of the government's coronavirus restrictions could be lifted in July as long as the results of the fourth round of the University of Tartu's study does not bring reveal results next week. However, recommendations to social distance and avoid major events will probably remain.
The results of the fourth wave of the epidemiological study of the population's exposure to the coronavirus will be announced just before Midsummer's Day next week.
The results show the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks and the government will make its decision based on these figures.
Member of the government's scientific advisory council and professor of virology Irja Lutsar told ERR: "Apparently, yes, after the next wave of monitoring, the government will make the final decisions on those that are still pending."
This restrictions still in place mainly concern nightclubs and bars, but also the 2+2 social distancing requirement.
This week, Lutsar and the council recommended to the government the 2+2 rule be scrapped as it has not been followed for a long time. However, the recommendation for people to keep some form of social distancing remains valid.
"It will certainly be the case that we will keep our distance. Whether the 2 + 2 rule remains, it is a government decision. The Scientific Council is of the opinion that if there are rules that no one follows, they will be less useful than rules people actually follow," Lutsar said. "I'm here in the center of Tartu right now and I don't see the 2 + 2 rule [being followed] anywhere.
"Let's keep our distance, let's not have big parties. Let this Midsummer's Day be smaller this year and with family and friends, not a village Midsummer's Day," Lutsar said and suggested people do not gather in confined spaces.
Lutsar also told ERR the epidemiological situation in Estonia means there is no longer a need for the council to meet and advise the government every week.
"We were together for the last time today. We will meet as needed in the future," Lutsar said.
Islanders are missing from the survey
The story is more complicated with another study comparing the infection rate between the residents of Õismäe in Tallinn and the islanders of Saaremaa. Lutsar said more people are participating in the Õismäe part of the study, but there are fewer islanders taking part.
She is calling for more people to participate in the study when asked as, if enough people take part, it will help to prepare society for a possible new wave in the autumn.
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Editor: Helen Wright