Saare County suspends hobby education for two weeks

Sõmera Home on Saaremaa.
Sõmera Home on Saaremaa. Source: AS Hoolekandeteenused

At a meeting of the Saare County crisis unit on Sunday, a decision was made to suspend adult and youth hobby activities in Saare County for the next two weeks.

Saare County mayor Mikk Tuisk said that indicators of the spread of the coronavirus in Saaremaa have increased over the last weeks, primarily affected by adult hobby activities and gatherings.

For that reason, the municipality government has decided to suspend adult and youth hobby activity in the region for the next two weeks. A respective request will also be presented to other hobby education organizers across the island and a request will also be made to celebrate the upcoming Independence Day (February 24) outdoors.

Tuisk also recommended to suspend the organization of leisure activities and events indoors for some time and to delay any gatherings and meetings, if possible.

On Sunday, February 14, 37 new cases of the coronavirus were opened in Saare County, 35 of which went to the Saare municipality itself. A day earlier, 38 new cases were registered in the county with most of them coming from mass testing conducted in the Sõmera care home. Nine patients were hospitalized as of Sunday morning.

Four schools in Saare County have also been directed to distance learning on the recommendation of the Health Board.

While Saare County has remained relatively clean of the coronavirus recently, the island went through the virus hard last March, when a volleyball match and additional festivities became the spreader of the virus on the island. The spread eventually led to Estonia's western islands being closed off to everyone but registered permanent residents.

The previous mayor of Saaremaa municipality Madis Kallas even eventually resigned after testing positive for the coronavirus himself, taking political responsibility for the crisis on the island. The island county (population - 33,000) overtook Harju County (population - 585,000) in the number of cases on March 27. The Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) rushed to the help of Kuressaare Hospital, opening a crisis ward near the hospital.

The situation finally stabilized in early-May with the stricter restrictions lifted on the western islands. The EDF also packed up on April 28, but not before BBC dubbed Saaremaa as Estonia's "corona island".

Read more on the coronavirus' timeline from March through the summer of 2020 here.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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