Health Board (Terviseamet) Chief Üllar Lanno said Thursday that the 356 new coronavirus infections reported that day in Tallinn alone were sufficient justification for newer, more stringent restrictions to be rolled out in the capital and the surrounding Harju County from next week.
Lanno told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Thursday evening that: "If one takes into consideration just the one fact, that today (Thursday – ed.) the same number of newly sick people (from coronavirus – ed.) emerged as there are people in hospitals, [it is clear] there will be no more hospital spaces to receive [patients]"
The restrictions to start from Monday, December 28, which will see all "entertainment establishments" (pubs, bars, nightclubs etc.) as well as restaurants and other eateries, cinemas and theaters, and sports centers, close, mirror regulations already put in place in Ida-Viru County.
At present there are no plans to expand this lock-down nationwide, Lanno said, though some other counties, most notably Võru and Pärnu, were cause for concern.
Lanno told AK that: "Pärnu itself is a very attractive place in terms of its location, and also in terms of institutions, even for Christmas activities. My concern is that, whereas a while ago we were able to be proud of the fact that Pärnu has somewhere between 700 and 800 people who we were monitoring (the Health Board monitors those who have contracted or are at risk of contracting COVID-19 – ed.),. Now we have exceeded the 2,000-mark very quickly. This growth has just been too rapid."
Pärnu, Estonia's summer capital, has also been quite a popular destination for New Year's celebrations in recent years.
The Health Board chief stressed the importance of people considering their actions over the break, noting that the circle with which he or she celebrates the festive season need not stretch to 10, but could be well below that if a person's immediate family group is smaller. This is particularly important in the case of older relatives, he added.
Editor: Andrew Whyte