Tallinn's North Estonian Medical Center (PERH) has introduced a patient visiting ban until September 15. In addition, both patients and staff must now wear a protective mask.
Professor Peep Talving, member of the board of PERH, justified the decision by saying Estonia is entering the second wave of the coronavirus and the situation has worsened recently.
Talving said Estonia already has more than 25 new infections per 100,000 and is now on the 'unsafe' list for the rest of Europe. To be deemed a safe country there must be 16 or fewer infections per 100,000 as a two-week average.
Due to the rising infection rate, a ban on visiting patients has been introduced. When a person is critically ill or dying, the hospital will make an exception for loved ones. However, social distancing guidelines must be followed and a mask must be worn.
The hospital has also decided that patients arriving for both inpatient and outpatient treatment must wear a protective mask. All hospital employees and partners have the same obligation.
Talving said wearing a mask reduces the transmission of the disease from one person to another, but if it does happen, the dose of the virus that enters another person's airways will be significantly lower.
"So, people who wear a mask become less severely ill than those who do without a mask," Talving said.
Editor: Helen Wright