Tartu restricts training, hobby groups to 10 people

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A social distancing sign in Tartu. Source: Ahto Sooaru.

From November 30, the number of participants in indoor hobby activities, sports and training indoors in Tartu may not exceed 10 people, the city government said on Thursday.

It must be ensured that the groups do not come into contact with each other. In the case of hobby activities and hobby education, a mask must be worn indoors, which is not obligatory for children under 12 years of age and in a situation where it is not possible to wear a mask due to the nature of the activity.

The southern regional department of the Health Board imposed the restrictions at the proposal of the city government of Tartu. "The county data on COVID-19 infection in the last 14 days show that the number of confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Tartu has increased significantly faster than the Estonian average," Tiia Luht, head of the southern regional department of the Health Board, said.

The highest number of infected people in Tartu is in the age groups of 10-19 years and 30-39 years of age, and the number of infected people in the age group of children under the age of 10 is also increasing. Infections involving minors have been largely related to participation in citywide hobby and sports activities. From there, the virus has reached the schools of Tartu and also the parents. Currently, one active outbreak in Tartu involves hobby activity, from where the virus has reached many general education schools in Tartu.

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) said that the situation in Tartu is worrying and therefore the City of Tartu proposed to set restrictions on hobby activities. "It is very important that we can slow down the spread of the virus in the current upward trend. Hobbies and trainings bring together young people from different schools and this causes the virus to spread quickly," Klaas added.

As of Wednesday, 28 schools in the Tartu had switched partially or fully to distance learning due to COVID-19 infection or close contact with an infected person among students or staff. There are more than 2,100 students in distance learning or self-isolation, so-called closed classes number 67 and there are also more than 150 teachers in self-isolation. As of Wednesday, there are two active outbreaks with more than five infections in Tartu schools. In addition, there are several school-related infection cases with less than five infections.

In the administrative territory of the City of Tartu, indoor sports and training are allowed only if the number of participants in a group of up to 10 people is guaranteed and it must be ensured that there is no contact with other groups.

Restrictions will remain in effect until January 10 or until revoked.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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