The new coronavirus related restrictions announced by the government should have been better targeted and come two weeks earlier, Social Democrat Party (SDE) MP Jevgeni Ossinovski told ETV current affairs show "Esimene stuudio" on Wednesday evening.
Ossinovski, a former health minister, argued that it is no longer possible to save the healthcare system from collapse via selective measures.
Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said on the same show that the restrictions were imposed based on the recommendations of the government's scientific advisory council.
The SDE MP said that the new restrictions come too late, they have not been discussed within society and are vague, although at the beginning of autumn there was talk about a plan to tackle outbreaks with local measures when a second wave of the virus hits.
"The government has been hopelessly late with necessary, preventative precision restrictions. These should have been applied already in October. In the end, they took the same approach across the board, and said that the pupils at small schools on Hiiumaa must stay at home, while people can continue going to the pub in Tallinn," Ossinovski, who served as minister of health and labor from 2015-2018, said.
Lukas, the Minister of Culture from the Isamaa party, said that it wouldn't be right to impose measures by county given Estonia's small size, and the one-size-fits-all approach to schools was justified. He said there was no problem with pupils being sent home for the winter break one week early.
Lukas said: "The school break is no longer far off. The time during which schools will actually be closed is very short, just over a week. No setback will occur in the level of education."
"This package has been retrieved largely from the recommendations of the scientific council. We haven't been able to put the brakes on the increase in the virus."
Lukas said the government cannot forbid residents from going to shopping malls and churches in December, as people rely on both of these places.
Editor: Roberta Vaino