Minister: PPA has devised measures to protect scientific council members

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Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Following a physical attack on North Estonia Medical Center (PERH) chief doctor Peep Talving on Wednesday, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) drafted measures to protect the members of the scientific advisory board that advises the government on matters of COVID-19, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik said.

Kiik told ERR that the topic was discussed at Thursday's meeting of the government and separately with Interior Minister Kristian Jaani and national police chief Elmar Vaher.

"Necessary measures have been taken to protect the members of the scientific advisory board and I have very big trust in the Police and Border Guard Board that it is possible thereby to prevent repeat attacks and additional risks," Kiik said. 

The minister said that work was underway "on an extensive scale" to resolve the case in question and bring clarity. According to the minister, the PPA has talked to members of the scientific advisory board and set out necessary confidence measures. 

"I cannot comment on these details, but in any case I have big trust in the work of the police and I know that members of the scientific council are satisfied with this arrangement too," he said.

Kiik noted that a dispute between those who believe in bogus medicine and those who believe in real medicine has been going on all the time and the coronavirus crisis has given fresh momentum to it.

"Unfortunately, many of them also choose the path of verbal attacks, and as we saw yesterday, verbal attacks very often come to the point where also physical attacks will follow sooner or later," Kiik said.

The minister called on residents to take a critical approach to the messages circulated on social media. "To assess realistically whether this is an opinion of a doctor, an expert, or random crap that is being circulated. And when there are violent remarks, violent messages, then these must be notified [to the authorities]," he said. 

The Center Party minister said that he has received messages of threatening content also himself. "It has happened in connection with the COVID-19 crisis and also earlier, in relation, for instance, to human rights and the protection of human rights. I take them calmly in general, I have responded to some of them and have deleted some. There have been also such which I have forwarded to relevant people, who will deal with them further if necessary," he added. 

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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