Jõks: Estonia's liberal attitude towards fighting coronavirus is effective

Allar Jõks
Allar Jõks Source: ERR

Estonia has stayed within the law when limiting the spread of the coronavirus except for a few moments during the emergency situation and overall, the prevention of the coronavirus has been successful, attorney and former Chancellor of Justice Allar Jõks said on Friday.

"There is no basis in law for making masks obligatory," Jõks said in the interview with Vikerraadio morning program.

"Let's look at the numbers, despite the absence of a mask obligation, we have done well. The obligation of the mask can create a fake sense of security and cause an even wider spread of the virus, also an intensification of hysteria and whistle-blowing," Jõks said.

Latvia established the obligation to wear a mask indoors.

"It should be distinguished if it's legally acceptable and medically justified. The worry is that among doctors in Estonia or in the world, there is no consensus on wearing masks. If it's not medically justified, there is no juridical basis to make it obligatory," Jõks explained.

"In Latvia, you can get thrown out of public transport or get a warning when you are not wearing a mask. There are several juridical issues. I can't evaluate if the obligation is legal or not," Jõks said.

Jõks said in March the virus and emergency came unexpectedly and the government used measures, such as the closing shopping centers, for which there was no legal basis. "There were grounds for restricting movement but not forbidding service."

"There was also a ban on private medical services. People forgave it, understood, no one went to court," Jõks noted.

"Now it's a new long-term reality and why should we tolerate the long-term restriction when it leads to the loss of human dignity or humiliation," the lawyer continued.

"I understand the governments, they are under pressure to show that they are doing something," Jõks said. "A citizen should not go to court for every stupid thing, we have constitutional guards who perform their role well, such as the Chancellor of Justice. Opinions must be expressed publicly, and this creates an atmosphere where Estonia does not become a state of whistle-blowing."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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