Close to 200 EDF conscripts in quarantine after Christmas leave

EDF personnel on exercise (photo is illustrative).
EDF personnel on exercise (photo is illustrative). Source: Janvar Pitelkov/Kaitsevägi

A total of 187 Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) have returned to their units after Christmas and New Year's leave displaying coronavirus symptoms.

The conscripts will have to be tested for COVID-19 before a decision is made on what happens next, BNS reports.

The cases have not affected basic training significantly, however, the EDF says.

Chief EDF doctor Lt. Col. Targo Lusti, said."If necessary, we need to deal with much more difficult situations than the current one. The EDF does not abandon the defense of the state lightly,"

Most conscripts in the July and October intakes were sent on a two-week period of leave starting December 18, and had to fill out a health declaration on return to unit, on January 13.

Fourteen conscripts had already opted to quarantine at home, and not return to unit, after either testing positive or having been identified as a coronavirus close contact.

The entire picture is not yet known, since some units of the EDF, notably the Navy (Merevägi) are still on leave, while the 187 who have reported symptoms are still to be tested.

Seventeen conscripts and 40 active service personnel are currently COVID-19-positive, BNS reports; the figure for the EDF since the pandemic began stands at 370, out of just under 6,000 tests, giving a 6 percent positive rate, though this only covers personnel who have tested through the EDF rather than at a civilian doctor's surgery or elsewhere.

At-risk conscripts are generally kept in quarantine, where they can often continue their training.

As in civilian life, remote working options, social distancing, mask-wearing, hygiene practices etc. are in place with the EDF.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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