Expert: Wearing masks in crowded, indoor areas is best practice

Dr. Ruth Kalda on
Dr. Ruth Kalda on "Uudis+" Source: ERR/ Lauri Varik

Doctor Ruth Kalda, head of the family medicine and public health institute at the University of Tartu, has joined a chorus of voices from experts who say mask-wearing as a preventive measure in the face of rising coronavirus rates is a good idea.

Kalda told Vikerraadio morning show "Uudis+" on Friday that while wearing masks outdoors was not necessary, in crowded, indoor locations where maintaining social distancing is not be possible, it is recommended. Head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medical department Dr. Arkadi Popov. has also recommended people wear masks.

Kalda's remarks followed the publication of results of a nationwide study conducted by the university, which found that the virus is spreading undetected and outside the main hotspots.

Kalda: 14-day quarantine rule is right

Kalda also said that the 14-day quarantine rule is justifiable and should be set even longer for individuals contracting COVID-19 whose symptoms continue.

"If you have been in close contact [with a coronavirus carrier] and are quarantined but display no symptoms, it would be conceivable that the period could be 10 days, but this must be confirmed by testing negative," she said, adding that the same could apply to arrivals from outside Estonia.

Kalda disagreed with Popov, who has said the quarantine period should be reduced to 10 days.

She said that prevalence studies such as the one conducted by the University of Tartu were a requirement in the fight against the virus and for getting a clear picture of the situation.

The latest study tested 2,500 people at random and five people gave a positive sample but were unaware they had picked up the virus. They displayed no symptoms and had not knowingly been in close contact with anyone with the virus.

Extrapolating from the study's figures, this would give an active case rate of 0.2 percent, or around 4,000 cases nationwide.

The latest estimate of active coronavirus cases, according to koroonakaart, is 685.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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