'Olukorrast riigis' discussed coronavirus vaccine and Ida-Viru County

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COVID-19 testing. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

It will take several months for the situation to normalize even after COVID-19 vaccines reach Estonia, hosts of the "Olukorrast riigis" talk show Harry Tuul and Marju Himma found.

Tuul opined that society could become less vigilant and hope for a rapid return to normality once vaccines arrive.

"While vaccine deliveries are a ray of sunshine, it does not mean we have come out the other side of this thing," he said.

The host explained that immunizing everyone will take a fair bit of time, while vaccines also need time to take effect.

"I believe that many parents would also like to see teachers top the lists of who will be vaccinated first so that schools could return to normal," Tuul said.

Himma agreed, adding that there will be new private sector outbreaks even after front line workers are vaccinated.

"People who work in shops for a modest salary, they are also front line workers /.../ how are they worth less?" Himma said in terms of potential misunderstandings.

She said that the vaccination plan and what it means should be explained in detail. "It is possible there will be no normalization before March," she added.

Tuul said that while the healthcare system might experience serious setbacks due to staff shortages, employees are easier to replace in commerce.

"I have formulated a principle for myself not to go anywhere if it is not necessary until vaccination becomes universal," Tuul said.

He added that the infection rate is especially high in Ida-Viru County not because of the language barrier but rather socioeconomic reasons. Tuul explained that the region has higher unemployment and level or urbanization than the rest of Estonia.

The host said that infection rates are higher in similar regions in other countries. "I wanted to make it clear that this idea that Russians only watch PBK (Pervyi Baltiski Kanal) is nonsense," he added.

Himma said that the fear of losing one's job can make people lie and hide their symptoms for example.

"The difference between white and blue collar workers is that it's hard to convince a Maxima cashier to stay home for three days, saying it would be a service to society," Himma said, adding that sick leave benefits should start on the first day.

The hosts also talked about the power struggle in Narva and Tallinn stopping procurement of Russian programming from PBK.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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