Estonia was able to get through New Year's Eve without a significant increase to coronavirus infection rates. There is reason to be cautiously happy as the infection rate per person - the R rate - has fallen to just around one.
While the R rate was still around 1.1 just last week, meaning that each infected person advances the virus on to 1.1 people on average, then Tuesday's indicators show that a stabilization has arrives and the rate is back down to one.
Professor of mathematical statistics and member of the government's scientific advisory council Krista Fischer told ERR that even if the R rate is just over 1.1 according to data, she is not so sure the indicator actually exceeds one.
"It was precisely one yesterday (Monday - ed.). The infection rate today (Tuesday - ed.) is either precisely one or just a bit under, but infections depend on testing and testing depends on the day of the week. I am not 100 percent certain but I would say the R does not differ significantly from one. The new cases on Tuesday were lower as well," Fischer said.
"If we look at the previous week, then it began with a high number of infections, with the numbers decreasing as the week went on. Since there were not as many new infections, it gives hope that we have gone down with our infection rate, which would be a good sign," the mathematician told ERR.
"It seems as if the restrictions established in Tallinn, Harju County and Ida-Viru County have worked and I hope that a significant part of the rest of the Estonian people have also been careful," she continued.
For a long time, estimates showed that the demand for bed spaces could rise up to 500, it has not exceeded 420 yet. Now that number has fallen below 400 and the number of daily hospitalizations has also gone down.
"Before it was around 40 daily, now it is some 35 a day," Fischer brought out another positive data note.
The professor said the time has also passed for New Year's festivities to raise the infection rate. This is why she considers it safe to send children to school starting next week, as the government has also decided in favor of. "In terms of schools, children should be allowed to contact learning. The price of restrictions is rather high, especially to those who need the help of an adult," Fischer explained.
She said the government's scientific council's position is that children should be allowed to attend school but they did not specify a date. Whether it happens on January 17 or 25 is for the Health Board, city government and others to decide. Schools in other counties started contact learning on Monday, January 11.
The scientific council does not recommend any obstructions for it to happen. "The scientific council would not oppose if it was said that children would go to school starting January 17. I would personally be in favor of them going to contact learning from January 17," the scientific council member concluded.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste