Expert: New restrictions could reduce coronavirus infection rate

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Krista Fischer Source: ERR

It is possible the coronavirus infection rate ill fall with the new restrictions, mathematician and member of the government's scientific advisory council Krista Fischer has said.

Estonia's current infection rate - also known as the R number - is 1.25. A rate of over one means it is increasing as a person is passing the virus to more than one person. The rate of infection starts to fall when the R number is below one.

Fischer told ERR if people can reduce their contact with others by 20 percent and increase social distancing by wearing a mask by 10 percent, it is possible that the infection rate will fall below one.

"While there are a number of people who can't or don't want to reduce contacts, there are a number of other people who can further reduce their contacts. And maybe the majority are still following advice," Fischer said.

Fischer said it is important the number of daily infections falls, mentioning that the number of new cases rose to more than 400 on a single day last week - the highest ever recorded in Estonia.

"If no daily [cases] exceed 400 this week, we can already say that we are on a downward trend. If the numbers decrease next week, the infection rate will be below one," Fischer said.

She said Estonia has not yet reached a plateau where the numbers are stable and neither rising nor falling. 

On Tuesday (November 24), new restrictions entered into force requiring people to wear masks in public indoor spaces, including on public transport, and extending the 2+2 rule. The new rules can be read here in English.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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