Head of scientific council: A complete lockdown would not be effective

Irja Lutsar.
Irja Lutsar. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Head of the government's scientific advisory council Irja Lutsar told ERR that the council will not recommend any restrictions this week. She also does not support a lockdown of two-three weeks but did recommend people abandon Christmas shopping this year.

Lutsar said the council convened on Monday and decided to not make any recommendations on further restrictions to the government. "Today (On Tuesday morning - ed.) we are speaking about the current situation and have taken a position that we will see how the new restrictions go. We are currently recommending the government wait and see," the virology professor said.

Lutsar said a complete two-three week lockdown of the country, as implemented by other countries, would not be effective. "It has not worked for anyone. I know who the health care specialists are that recommend us do it. They brought England as an example. But infections grew there. If we keep people down and then allow them to go Christmas shopping, an increase in infections makes sense," Lutsar said.

She added that a complete lockdown has not worked out for any nation and pointed to Germany and France as examples. "I sincerely doubt that Estonia would be the first country where it worked out," Lutsar said.

The professor noted that Christmas should be a calm time and people should deal with problems when they arise. She said the issue of hospitalization is being monitored heavily.

"We must give it a little time. The COVID-19 pandemic is like treating a chronic disease. You cannot change treatment every day, you must see for some time how things go. Noone in the world has the right recipe for which measures work. We must try different things. And each nation has their own methods," Lutsar said.

The scientific council head added that she liked an idea that came out during Monday's council meeting - no measure is effective if people do not follow it.

"There is no reason to keep implementing new restrictions if they are not followed. We have enough measures. The Estonian people actually know what they need to do - we must cancel parties, stay home, work from home if possible, cancel Christmas shopping and make presents that do not involve shops," Lutsar said.

She emphasized that COVID-19 is an infectious disease and if contacts between people decrease, so will the risk of infection.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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