Tartu University study says COVID-19 restrictions easing not too hasty ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Painted 2-meter distance markers on a Tallinn sidewalk.
Painted 2-meter distance markers on a Tallinn sidewalk. Source: ERR

The fourth round of the University of Tartu's (TÜ) coronavirus monitoring program did not discover any positive samples of COVID-19. This means that the relaxations of restrictions in June were not done too quickly, the university says.

The fourth wave of the study was conducted from June 11-21. 3,872 persons were interviewed and 2,864 of them were randomly tested. No positive samples of the SARS-CoV-2 infection were discovered.

A total of 13,385, randomly chosen interviews have been conducted, and of these, 10,397 have also been tested. Previous stages of the study have discovered 14 positive samples.

There are no further studies planned, but they will be conducted if necessary, the institution says.

Ruth Kalda, head of the study, told ERR: "We have agreed that further studies will be conducted if necessary. If the number of weekly infections will exceed 30, that is the proposed indicator that could prompt a new study."

She added: "We are also monitoring the state of our neighboring countries to see how their infection rates are, based on that we will make our decisions. The team is ready to run a new study within a week."

Kalda explained that in the summer, when infection rates are low, there is no reason to squander resources.

Furthermore, the results of the fourth stage of study confirm that the relaxations of restrictions done in June were not done too hastily, the university says. The study also shows there is no need to reaffirm the already relaxed restrictions.

Kalda said: "Currently, based on these results, there is no need to restrict anything. We can act very freely on the rules we have now. It is a great message and should give confidence to everyone that they can enjoy the summer. But we will see about autumn."

However, Kalda notes that the virus has not disappeared entirely, especially when looking at other European countries. Portugal has reactivated some restrictions due to increasing infection rates, for instance, and Sweden still has a high rate of infection.

Kalda added: "We can't possibly say that there is no danger. We can't say anything about autumn yet. If it returns, like any other virus, then inevitably the infection rate will increase."

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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