New Health Board (Terviseamet) director Üllar Lenno says wearing masks in public spaces should be the norm, in order to allow everyday life to otherwise continue as usual.
Lanno, who was appointed last month, said that his meetings with politicians have been positive so far and that politicians have been listening to the experts.
"I have to say with full sincerity that the politicians are taking the situation very seriously. This support, inquisitiveness and desire to make everything clear ... I have really enjoyed it," Lanno told ETV current affairs show "Esimene stuudio" Tuesday evening.
However, he noted that in spring, messages that came from the experts and the government had been controversial. "There were too many opinions, and a lot of this analytical element of what the real risk behind this is and how we should actually deal with it was the reason for the slew of opinions," Lanno said.
Lanno added that one could say a collective panic went global in spring. "This was because society and the health care systems had knowledge of viruses gained over a long period, but in all likelihood experience of how the virus would unfold was lacking," he added.
While mask-wearing in Estonia has not yet become as widespread as in some other European countries, Lanno says that masks should be worn indoors.
"This can be said, retrospectively, that the science behind the masks wasn't at the level it is now," he said about the situation in spring.
"This is a belief which Estonians need to change themselves. And wearing a mask should be a norm in that sense that you are wearing it, carrying it with you when not, and donning it when you sense that the risk of getting infected has risen," he said.
"When we take into consideration confined spaces, cold conditions and places where the virus could spread significantly faster from a person to a person, then my recommendation is: Wear a mask," he said.
Lanno explained that self-isolation rules when coming from abroad should remain in place because the transient nature of airports means infection risk is present and it is very difficult to subsequently find close contacts among people passing each other.
Lenno said he wants to avoid a national lockdown. "The lockdown in spring showed precisely that it had caused damage to all groups of society and the economy," Lanno noted.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Andrew Whyte