Health Board encouraging people to wear masks ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Masks.
Masks. Source: Valitsuse kommunikatsioonibüroo

The Health Board is encouraging people to wear masks as the coronavirus situation in Estonia is "becoming increasingly serious."

The following weeks will be critical for getting the virus under control, the Health Board said on Friday.

The agency gives the following advice: "Wearing a mask in Estonia is not compulsory, but doing so is a very good additional measure in connection with maintaining the required distance from others, along with proper hand hygiene, and proper respiratory hygiene.

"Anyone who has developed any symptoms must wear a mask in public places or if direct contact is unavoidable. All close contacts of an individual who has been diagnosed with coronavirus should wear a mask even if they do not yet have any symptoms.

"It is also a good idea to wear a mask in enclosed, crowded spaces such as stores, shopping centres, or on public transport, for example. This is especially strongly recommended in those areas which witness new outbreaks of the disease.

"A mask should also be worn outdoors if you are in a crowded place and it is not possible to maintain the required distance from strangers. It is very important to place, wear, and remove the mask properly in order to avoid being infected. Always sanitise your hands after removing your mask."

The below graph shows the total number of new cases of coronavirus by week. See more data here. ERR News analyses the previous week's figures every week in the coronavirus round-up, which is published on Monday's.

So far this week (starting September 28) there have been 242 new cases recorded in Estonia (Monday (48), Tuesday (56), Wednesday (81) and Thursday (57)).

Health Board: The situation is becoming increasingly serious

The Health Board said on Friday: "It is important that we use all possible measures to help us prevent any further spread of the virus. COVID-19 is about to reach vital services and risk groups such as hospitals and care homes. Taking into consideration the increasing spread of the virus worldwide as well as in Europe, all trips abroad should be cancelled, and the school holidays should be spent in Estonia. It is up to all of us to make sure that we can avoid the imposition of stricter restrictions so that we can continue to lead our lives normally. 

"As 'close contact' refers to a situation in which individuals remain within two metres of one another for a period of at least fifteen minutes, attending a gathering when you are ill is a certain way of infecting your friends. At gatherings people often spend several hours together in an enclosed space, speaking loudly at each other. The latter act certainly facilitates the spread of the particles that can transmit the virus.

"Anyone who attends a public event and who has a smartphone should install the HOIA coronavirus app which more efficiently helps to identify potential close contacts."

How can the spread of coronavirus be stopped?

  • The most efficient measure is keeping your distance.
  • In crowded places and especially indoors where it is not possible to keep your distance from other people, it is advisable to wear a mask.
  • Closed, crowded spaces should be avoided if possible.
  • Hands must be washed frequently with soap and warm water.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissue.
  • Anyone who becomes ill should stay at home, even if their symptoms are mild.
  • People who develop any symptoms should contact their family physician.

Download 'HOIA'

You can also download Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app 'HOIA' which will alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.

The free app can be downloaded at the Google Play Store or App Store. Read ERR News' feature about the app here. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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