Coronavirus-hit oil shale mine to remain closed to early next week

The Jõhvi Kelder bar, linked to the nearby Estonia oil shale mine COVID-19 outbreak.
The Jõhvi Kelder bar, linked to the nearby Estonia oil shale mine COVID-19 outbreak. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

An oil shale mine in northeastern Estonia will remain closed at least until the beginning of next week. The mine was closed after an outbreak of coronavirus in the nearby town of Jõhvi, Ida-Viru County, centered on a bar in the town which had been patronized by miners.

The Estonia oil shale mine will remained closed for the next few days, spokespersons for state-owned energy generator Eesti Energia said, following a crisis committee meeting Thursday.

As of Friday, 26 workers of the mine had tested positive for coronavirus, Eesti Energia says.

The committee will convene again Monday to look at the latest data before deciding if and when the mine can reopen.

The committee will gather again on Monday to decide on the basis of fresh data whether the situation enables to resume work at the mine.

A total of 47 coronavirus cases are connected with the Estonia mine outbreak according to the Health Board (Terviseamet).

The virus started spread both in the working environment in the mine, and to miners' family members and other contacts. Two mine employees had visited a bar, Jõhvi Kelder, leading to more infections.

As a result of the outbreak, Ida-Viru County authorities have followed Tartu County's example in establishing a late-night alcohol sales ban, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. A crisis committee has also been set up, also covering neighboring Lääne-Viru County.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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