Deputy Director General of the Estonian Health Board Mari-Anne Härma said at Wednesday's press conference that the growth in the daily number of new coronavirus cases has been decelerating over the past few weeks.
"We're currently seeing signs of stabilization - the growth in the number of new cases is decreasing," she said.
Harma noted that the past week saw the virus spread primarily among working-age people, and that new infections among children and the elderly have decreased.
"The number of cases brought in from abroad remains low and stable with some 2 percent of the infections having arrived from Russia, Sweden and Finland," she said.
"Some 200 health care workers have fallen ill over the past two weeks, half of them nurses. 324 people have been hospitalized, that means that we're using 61 percent of our bed places," Harma said, adding that more bed places will be added at the end of the year to bring the total number thereof to 659. The new bed places will be created at the expense of planned treatment, however.
Härma said that currently every second to third person exhibiting symptoms tests positive for the coronavirus, which is why a test should be taken as soon as any suspicions arise.
"The system of testing continues at full throttle also during the holidays. Even if some family health centers are closed during Christmas, the phone number 1220 will direct [callers] to the right place," Härma said.
Ratas: Current recommendations remain valid for Christmas
Current recommendations also remain valid for the Christmas holidays but large family gatherings should be cancelled, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said, answering questions by members of the parliament on Wednesday.
He said the government has made its recommendations long ago and they also remain valid for the upcoming holidays.
"This year, Christmas is to be celebrated within the family," Ratas said. "This is a very clear recommendation and request for all people of Estonia."
The prime minister noted that is also recommended to cancel larger family gatherings during the holidays.
"This is not the time for holding large parties. The fewer contacts we have, the better," he said, adding that the government is working towards seeing fall 2021 turn out differently.
Editor: Helen Wright