Kiik: New restrictions if coronavirus rate does not improve in coming weeks

Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center).
Social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center).

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Thursday if Estonia's coronavirus rate does not improve in the coming week new stricter measures will be introduced.

Speaking at a press conference, Kiik and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said if the coronavirus rate continues to rise then more measures will be introduced.

Ratas said the government are not discussing introducing new restrictions today as the last set was only introduced on Tuesday and some, for theaters and cinemas, will come into force on Saturday.

"We will find out afterwards if the restrictions were effective. If the trend continues in a week's time, there will be bad and very bad choices on the table - bans and restrictions," Kiik said.

He said, so far, Estonia has been one of the most liberal countries in Europe regarding restrictive measures and has not been an epicenter.

"Week two will show whether we can follow the established rules. Or we think the virus will just pass us by and life will get better. But in a week's time the government may be in a situation where we have to accept harsher restrictions. I hope that we will not get there," said Kiik.

Last week, more than 2,000 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed across Estonia - the highest number in a single week since the pandemic began. During November, 25 people have died after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

The above graph was taken from ERR News' weekly feature the "Coronavirus round-up" and made with data downloaded from koroonakaart.

High risk of infection during an anti-mask protest 

Kiik was very critical of an anti-mask protest scheduled to take place later this week and encouraged people to stay home and not attend.

He asked people to think about whether any social media rally really carries the same weight as the recommendations from the scientific advisory council, the World Health Organization, the Health Board and the government.

"Although they have long and repeatedly been refuted, talking about all sorts of conspiracies and stupidities has a real impact on people's health, hospitalization and also people's deaths," Kiik said.

Ratas was also critical of the protest and said that there was a high risk of becoming infected and passing the infection on to parents or grandparents.

He said the new rules have been introduced so the infection rate can fall, people can see families at Christmas and children can go back to school on January 11.

On Tuesday, the government introduced new restrictions which mean a person's mouth and nose needs to be covered in indoor public spaces, including public transport.

The new rules introduced by the government can be read here.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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