Kadai: Health Board needs more resources for 'coronavirus detectives' ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Former Health Board chief of emergency medicine Martin Kadai.
Former Health Board chief of emergency medicine Martin Kadai. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Health Board needs more resources for "coronavirus detectives" as these people help trace the spread of the virus which is the most effective way to control the disease, the agency's former head of the emergency department said on Monday.

Martin Kadai, who stepped down from the position earlier this summer, told Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" these contact tracers are "the most effective way to control the disease in the world".

"Once a patient is identified, they are interviewed to find out who they have been in contact with. Infection chains and outbreaks are identified," Kadai said.

He said he had no information that there has been an increase in the number of people who are working as tracers and so resources should be added to this area.

Communication is confusing and controversial

Speaking about the communication around coronavirus, Kadai said there many opinions and contradiction which make things confusing.

"Of course, in a democratic society, everyone has the opportunity to express their opinion, but at least the government parties, including local governments, could provide the same communication. The average person in Estonia today is confused by all this and this leads to the issue being devalued in society. And eventually, it becomes a matter of faith because people do not want to delve into it," he said.

He also said the current increase in new cases is to be expected, as the infection rate is on the rise elsewhere in Europe. Kadai said Estonia's testing organization is very good adding: "The problem is not that we detect these diseases, but the problem would be if we didn't,"

Speaking about how the coronavirus can affect people differently, with some people experiencing severe symptoms and others none at all, he said people need to behave responsibly so as not to spread it.

"But we can't stop society as a whole because it causes us bigger problems than the coronavirus itself. Kadai.

He added that the view of at-risk groups has not changed since the spring - older and chronically ill people should be as protected as possible and take care of their health.

There is no point in blindly copying other countries

Kadai said that in the spring there was less knowledge about the disease, but on the other hand, the decisions countries took had not been thoroughly considered.

"Countries copied restrictions from each other and did not consider whether one thing or another was actually effective or the long-term consequences of a decision. When the outbreak was discovered in Italy, it was out of control. However, other countries copied the same pattern of behavior as Italy. Today, there is no point in imposing blindly unjustified general restrictions. There is a need to focus on the basics that will help control the spread," he told the program.

Kadai also said he did not agree with the view that the disease spreads only at parties or that alcohol restrictions will affect the infection. He would rather the focus was on evidence-based measures which help to control the virus.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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