Foreign minister: Estonia in active COVID-19 growth phase

Urmas Reinsalu at the government press conference.
Urmas Reinsalu at the government press conference. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu says that mathematical models of the spread of COVID-19 suggest Estonia is in for a growth phase of the virus. Even if the spread of the virus should slow down, the country is looking at around 300 daily cases in December, which would also require moderate restrictions.

Mathematics professor Krista Fischer who is in charge of the government's forecast models puts Estonia's reproduction figure at 1.4 today.

"A figure of 1.0 would see the virus plateau and any figure smaller than that would mean that a single person on average infects fewer than one person, meaning that the virus is slowly retreating," Reinsalu explained during the government press conference on Thursday.

"Professor Fischer's model suggests that even if we manage to take the figure below 1.0 by November 20, which is in roughly two weeks, we will still have an average of 300 cases a day in December. That is Professor Fischer's prognosis today."

Reinsalu added that the forecast requires the state to take steps to contain the spread. "We need to admit that we are in a growth phase and if we do not take additional measures, the virus will start spreading even faster."

The minister said that the scientific forecast is that the virus will continue spreading faster and the daily case rate will continue to grow. "Whether we introduce restrictions or not – we are in for a growth phase," Reinsalu said.

"The government needs to make a decision now, there is no alternative. The logic this needs to be based on is that it is not realistic or purposeful for us to return to closures of schools or shops looking at the long-term picture. We must realize as a team made up of the whole of society that the virus is in a rapid growth phase and our common efforts can keep it at bay. We can slow down the spread of the virus," the foreign minister said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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