Defense Forces suspends leave for conscripts until end of November

EDF Conscripts.
EDF Conscripts. Source: Marina Loštsina/Ministry of Defense

The Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) has suspended all leave until November 30 to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Conscripts will only be allowed to leave units in special cases.

"Reducing contact between different groups of people is one of the most important measures for stopping the virus from spreading. The coronavirus case rate has grown in Estonia in recent weeks and suspending leave is needed first and foremost to protect soldiers and their relatives," EDF chief medical officer Lt. Col. Targo Lusti said.

Training will continue as planned. "We are taking measures against the virus spreading, while our goal is to continue our daily activities of training reserve units and maintaining battle readiness," Commander of the Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Martin Herem said.

Tougher measures against the virus have been adopted everywhere in the armed forces, with rules for distancing, use of masks and other personal protective gear and hygiene in place. Remote working and video conferencing are preferred.

Seventy-three conscripts have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while eight professional EDF members and support staff have come down with the disease. The infected have been quarantined or are isolating at home. All infected conscripts have contacted their families.

Quarantined soldiers can be reached on their personal cell phones and be sent or delivered packages.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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