Health Board encouraging people to stay in Estonia during school holidays

People should stay in Estonia during the upcoming school holidays, the Health Board and Minister of Social Affairs said on Wednesday. The number of coronavirus cases imported from abroad is also currently increasing.

Deputy Director General of the Health Board in the field of health protection Mari-Anne Härma said at a press conference the illness has decreased in Estonia over the last week and a half.

"Indeed, there is a brief respite at the moment and the numbers seem to have stabilized. But let me remind you that the virus has not disappeared. Good news is being issued for a few days at present, but that does not mean that there will be no growth trend in a week," she said.

Härma said a growing morbidity trend can currently be seen in Harju County and Ida-Viru County. "Workplace outbreaks dominate in Harju County and school outbreaks in Ida-Viru County. At the moment, we see the main link in the communication between teachers and in the direction of teachers. There are fewer students bringing the disease to schools and spreading it," she said.

The share of unknown infections was lower last week than the week before and it is relatively stable, but it can be seen that people of working age are becoming ill and travel-related cases are increasing among working-age people.

"Forty-five cases brought in are related to travel. This is the highest number in recent months. In April, 64 cases were added in two weeks, but now 45 cases were added in a week. Those brought in from Ukraine and Russia, as well as a few cases from Sweden can be distinguished. Cases from Ukraine were detected within six days, from Russia within 10 days and some also after 10 days," Härma said.

Due to the school holidays, the infection may increase

The Health Board forecasts that the proportion of cases introduced will increase after the school holidays and recommends that trips be planned within Estonia.

"Morbidity is growing in Europe, as is mortality, but in a weak upward trend. "It is on the rise everywhere in the Baltics and is higher in Latvia and Lithuania than in Estonia. There are outbreaks related to schools and sports in Latvia," she said.

Speaking at the press conference, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) added the government also recommends that people travel in Estonia during the school holidays.

Kiik said the fact that the infection rate is stable at the moment is certainly not a sign that the restrictions can be taken less seriously, adding that maintaining a good situation is in everyone's power.

He also said tourism companies should not claim that traveling abroad would be safer than staying in Estonia. He pointed out that 0.2 percent of the tests in the random sample were positive, but 0.5 per cent of the tests performed at the border were positive.

"If we talk about a country where tests are performed 150 times less than in Estonia and it is then said that their number [of cases] is smaller than in Estonia, then this is not an adequate indicator," said the Minister.

Government will decide on shortening the isolation period next week

Kiik said the government plans to make a decision next week on whether to reduce mandatory self-isolation from 14 days to 10.

In addition, the minister said that the government is also discussing the pre-purchase of vaccines, and that if vaccines were bought now from all providers, there would be overlap.

Speaking about vaccines developed with different technologies, which the state does not plan to buy yet, he said if such vaccines are developed he would propose the government acquire some.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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