Scientific council: Not much room to ease restrictions currently

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Irja Lutsar Source: ERR / Siim Lõvi

In the current epidemiological situation, there is no room for any restrictions to be eased, said Irja Lutsar, head of the government's scientific council.

"Right now, there is likely not much room for easing restrictions. Rather, it is important that people compile with restrictions," Lutsar told ERR on Tuesday.

"We do not see that we could even think of easing restrictions currently. Although infections have stabilized somewhat - it is not rising as it did in November and December - it is still a very delicate balance," the virology professor noted.

She said there is no reason to believe that it is possible to open cinemas and theaters in Tallinn in the coming weeks. "We will see how the situation goes, but we have a long road to go with this virus and I personally do not think the virus will begin fading in a few weeks. And the established restrictions that everyone knows, it is important to comply with those, to spend more time outdoors and to not have any gatherings indoors," Lutsar noted.

She pointed out that even if establishments are supposed to be closed and gatherings are forbidden in Tallinn and Ida-Viru County, there are still places where people meet up in illegally. "The most important thing is that we can comply with the current restrictions," the government's scientific council head said.

Lutsar said studies show that as is the case in other countries, Estonia's infection rate grew over the holidays. "The monitoring study (conducted by the University of Tartu - ed.) also shows that people were moving around more during that time, people admit that they held parties and traveled, regardless of the calls to not do so," she said.

While the coronavirus was mainly raging in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, it has now reached Pärnu and southern Estonia as well. In general, all of Estonia is affected in some capacity. "So people carried it around during the holidays," Lutsar said.

The scientific council head also confirmed that the forming of a new government will not affect the scientific council's work: "We have been told that our jobs will not change, we are not a political unit, we were called together by the Government Office. Noone wants the battle against the coronavirus to be affected by political changes and the scientific council has not been affected by the government changing."

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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