Health Board doctor: Strict nationwide restrictions unnecessary today

Dr. Arkadi Popov, head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medicine department.
Dr. Arkadi Popov, head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medicine department. Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

Head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medical department Doctor Arkadi Popov said that while the situation regarding the spread of the coronavirus has become more anxious, strict nationwide restrictions are not necessary and people should follow recommended measures.

Countries in Western Europe have begun shutting themselves down in order to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 and recent daily case numbers in Estonia also show that the spread of the virus is becoming more prevalent, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Sunday.

Dr. Arkadi Popov of the Health Board's emergency medical department said spread in Estonia is progressing currently. "Today, it is all in our hands to avoid the worst and to avoid quarantine measures, which we see today that many countries have implemented. We do not speak of that today. We are talking about being able to affect the process," he said.

Popov said that looking around in shops and malls, it can be seen that people have forgotten how to keep sufficient distance. He reminded everyone of the requirement and also recommends wearing a mask in addition to other Health Board recommendations.

He said strict nationwide restrictions are necessary when epidemiologists are unable to control the situation and to monitor close contacts of infected people, as has happened in many parts of Europe.

The emergency medicine chief said: "We should not be talking about strict restrictions today. We have to talk about prevention measures. And it would be very silly if Estonia - in the current situation where the infection rate is one of the lowest in Europe - would not use the opportunity, that we would lose our chance."

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) added: "Right now is not the period to try new things, to go to school or work showing any symptoms. When arriving from foreign countries, you have to monitor your health very closely and contact your family physician in case of any symptoms, ask for testing and generally, people get the test."

He noted that the rise in daily new cases worries him and effort must be made to get the spread of COVID-19 under control. Kiik has discussed the topic with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), head of the governement's scientific council Irja Lutsar, Health Board chief Üllar Lanno and Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center).

Kiik said: "Based on our current knowledge, a complete lockdown will not be necessary. Our desire is to certainly avoid it because while the spread of the virus has severe effects on health, the social sector and society as a whole, the effects of a nationwide lockdown could be even worse."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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