President opposes mass public events, citing coronavirus risk

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

President Kersti Kaljulaid says she is generally not in favor of mass events at a time when the coronavirus may again start spreading extensively, adding that she expects politicians to take clearer responsibility to ensure decisions affecting individual freedoms are not left to officials alone,

The president's words come after an outbreak in Estonia's second city, Tartu, has neared 30 confirmed cases including three hospital workers, and follows an individual's disregarding of all the regulations after exhibiting symptoms and visiting a nightclub, spa centers, a cinema and shopping center there and in Narva.

"A concert can also be listened to with just one's own group of friends, while keeping a distance from others," the president said, according to regional daily Lõuna-Eesti Postimees.

Activities where people end up in close quarters with each other, including nightclubs and group workouts are prime areas for the virus' spread, the president noted, meaning it was vital people think things through before attending events.

The president added that Estonia's future was not mere words and depended on the actions of everyone, though this was something which nowadays becomes clear in a matter of weeks rather than years.

"Today's younger generation, and we older ones, too, have learned a very valuable lesson. While we don't usually learn the cumulative result of our behavior until years later, at the present time, however, this is revealed within two weeks. We can look in the mirror at all times and assess how we managed to cope two weeks ago," Kaljulaid said.

The president also stressed the importance of self-quarantining while awaiting coronavirus test results – the Tartu spreader had been at large following the taking of a test but before its results were known – and that this need not mean the curtailing of freedoms.

Recent larger events to have been canceled due to virus concerns include July's "I-Land" festival on Saaremaa.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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