Minister of Social Affairs: We want to avoid closing the country ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center).
Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: ERR

Minister of Social Affairs, Tanel Kiik (Center) reiterated on Thursday that the government's long-time strategy is to avoid entirely or partially closing the country to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"Our long-time strategy foresees that we won't close the country. We are restricting these areas and places where we see a higher risk of infection. Whether it is coming from a country with a high number of cases, parties, entertainment establishments. There is also the recommendation to cancel private parties, events, plan them for the future when the risk of infection is lower," Kiik said in ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade.

"The aim is to avoid the country closing entirely or partially as we had to do in spring so that contact learning at schools, planned treatments, providing social and health care continued," he added.

Kiik said Estonia is in danger of another emergency situation, which means that if the number of cases continues to grow this way, the situation will become dangerous.

"The emergency situation is measured according to how the hospital system is coping with patients. Today we can say that we are in danger of an emergency situation meaning that if the current trend continues to grow, the situation can become critical. The aim is to break that trend."

Kiik said that masks are not yet mandatory in Estonia because the spread of the virus is not that severe.

"The recommendation to wear a mask in public transport or in public places has been given a long time ago. It has been confirmed by the Scientific Council, government, the Health Board. However, it hasn't been made mandatory. There are different juridical disputes, there is also an economic question because inevitably, there are costs involved - we have to think about how it will affect low-wage earners and the elderly," he said.

"In addition, there is a health view, or are we talking about a surgical mask, a dust mask, a protective mask, a homemade mask. These answers must be given first," the minister added.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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