Kallas: Coronavirus restrictions must be applied logically
The continued relaxation of coronavirus restrictions must be applied logically, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Tuesday, adding that current restrictions on restaurants and cafes do not fall into this category.
Speaking on ETV's "Esimene stuudio" on Tuesday evening, Kallas said the government's scientific advisory council works on the principle of "work before play" but it should be taken into account that many people's livelihoods depend on entertainment establishments and coronavirus restrictions should be imposed when there is clear evidence they will be effective.
The government will discuss the current restrictions on Thursday and Kallas said there are many questions to be answered.
Raising the issue of restrictive opening hours, which currently see restaurants shutting at 7 p.m. in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, she said restrictions must be logical.
Although it is known people can get out of hand in the evenings if bars or restaurants are open: "If people stop working at 6 p.m. and restaurants are closed at 7 p.m., then restaurants have no chance of surviving. There are a lot of things to balance and we need to move on with that on Thursday."
Discussing issues around vaccination supply, Kallas said, despite the problems, Estonia still has to rely on joint procurements with the European Union.
"It is important that we are united with Europe because as soon as the fracturing begins, the bigger countries will win because they have more money and can jump the queues. If there are joint European procurements, there is hope that Estonia will receive vaccines at the same time as others," said Kallas.
Relations with Finland
Kallas' first call to a foreign leader after taking office was to Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin on Tuesday.
The pair discussed why reason Finland is imposing stricter border controls from arrivals from Estonia and it was said that Estonians do not follow the COVID-19 rules as well as Finns.
Kallas said: "I asked directly what is the key to why Finland's infection rate is 10 times smaller than Estonia's. She said that they do tests, people follow the agreed rules, Finns are very law-abiding. So when someone is not wearing a mask, people tell them to follow the rules," said Kallas.
Kallas said she wanted her first foreign trip to be to Finland rather than Latvia, as is tradition.
Additionally, Kallas said the state budget is not set in stone and the Reform Party wants to make some changes to it.
She also said the Reform Party wants to move to a completely Estonian-language system education. "We will take appropriate steps to ensure that the education system continues in Estonian," she said.
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Editor: Helen Wright