Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said the rate of coronavirus in Estonia is on the rise and, at the current rate, it is possible 1,000 cases could be registered in a day in January.
"The infection has not decreased and is on the rise, especially in Tallinn and Harju County," Ratas said, speaking at an extraordinary press conference on Wednesday morning.
He said if the current situation continues, a situation where 1,000 new infections per day are registered may be reached in January.
"For example, according to current estimates, there may already be 1,300 new cases on January 19. Of course, this also means a rapid increase in mortality," he said.
The prime minister said there are many infected people among the elderly who suffer more severely and need hospital treatment. "There is also a lot of infection among hospital staff. Hospitals are operating under a very heavy workload," he said.
"We need to break the growth trend, we need to reduce our daily contacts with other people," Ratas said.
Irja Lutsar, head of the anti-COVID-19 research council advising the government, said that this week a situation was reached where it could be seen that the medical system was starting to overheat.
"COVID-19 is spreading more and more in hospitals. When there is a lot of the virus in society, it reaches all the frontline workers, the staff. And then scheduled treatment is interrupted. In considering these things, we have decided that we need to reduce the circulation of this virus. There aren't very many options, it spreads from person to person, and sweeping the tables is not enough," she
Lutsar said there is currently no new type of coronavirus strain in Estonia. "But we can't be sure," she added.
Ratas said the new restrictions, which introduce a lockdown in Harju County and Tallinn, were agreed at a 16-hour Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Editor: Helen Wright