Chief of Medicine for the North Estonia Medical Center (PERH) Peep Talving was attacked as he was leaving work on Wednesday evening when Russian-speaking perpetrators threw something in his face that did not prove to be acid, Eesti Päevaleht reports.
One of the tires on Talving's car was also punctured.
"A man threw an unknown liquid at a driver who was getting into his car in the hospital parking lot on Retke tee before running away at around 7 p.m. yesterday. The victim discovered that one of the tires on his car had been punctured," said Urmet Tambre, head of the criminal bureau of the Northern Police Prefecture.
The police have launched criminal proceedings based on the criminal code section of threatening. "We will we reviewing CCTV camera footage to try and identify the suspect and will analyze the liquid used in the attack," Tambre added.
It is difficult to say at this time whether it was an attempted robbery or whether Talving was attacked as a doctor who has spoken up on COVID-19 and a member of the COVID-19 scientific advisory council.
"Preliminary information suggests the attack was not random, meaning that the perpetrator was waiting for the victim and had made preparations for the attack," Tambre admitted.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said during the government press conference on Thursday that the police will try to get to the bottom of the attack.
"Considering that the work of the scientific council is important and we greatly appreciate the contribution of its members, we need to consider whether members should be assigned an extra security detail. Looking at verbal attacks against Irja Lutsar last week and this recent incident, these matters need to be addressed," the PM said.
Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik added that a sane person does not orchestrate such attacks. "There are people among us who are grappling with mental or physical health problems and whose stress levels COVID-19 has elevated. It is our task to notice," Kiik said, adding that aggressive behavior on social media warrants contacting an online police constable at least.
Kiik described the attack against Talving as jarring and dangerous. "A situation where a doctor and members of the scientific council have to be afraid for their life and continued good health is a threat to us all," the minister said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski