Kiik to raise shortening quarantine period with government

Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center).
Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The reduction of the compulsory self-isolation period from 14 days to 10 will be discussed at the government's cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik told ERR.

Kiik said he will propose to shorten the mandatory isolation period in some cases and will provide the government with assessments from the scientific council and the Health Board.

"It is certainly safer in terms of health to shorten the period when arriving from abroad / --- /, but the issue is more complicated in the case of close contacts, i.e. people who are more likely to be infected," the minister said.

Kiik pointed out that European countries have approached this issue in different ways. For example, the Finnish Health Authority (THL), has decided voluntary quarantine and doctor-prescribed isolation will be reduced from 14 days to 10. Latvia has made a similar decision.

"There are countries that have shortened the isolation for both those coming from abroad and close contacts. There are countries that treat them differently. Then there are countries that treat different contacts differently, such as a co-worker and a family member," Kiik explained.

He emphasized the government would make its decision based on the assessments of the scientific council and the Health Board.

In addition, according to Kiik, shortening the quarantine period may have a beneficial effect on both the Estonian economy and the labor market.

No point in changing testing methodology yet 

Kiik said saliva-based coronavirus tests are being used in Latvia as part of a pilot program. He said that saliva tests may be justified in certain situations, such as when testing young children.

"In Estonia, various tests have been analyzed and tested in the same way / --- / we just trust the expertise in the field of health. The test must be reliable and of high quality, based on science and evidence," Kiik said about changing the testing methodology.

He added that, like most of the world, Estonia continues to perform PCR tests.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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