Health Board chief: Spread of virus extensive, even epidemic

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Üllar Lanno (left) and health minister Tanel Kiik, at a recent press conference. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The director general of the Health Board (Terviseamet) said at a press conference on Tuesday that the current spread of coronavirus in Estonia is extensive and even epidemic in Harju County. Estonia currently has the second highest 14-day infection rate in Europe.

Director general Üllar Lanno said that several weeks ago it seemed that a plateau-like level of coronavirus prevailed in Estonia and was starting to decline, the opposite has happened. "The growth rate is significantly higher," he said.

"In Estonia, 22 percent of those infected were added in a week. Estonia is second in Europe. If everything continues in the same way, then becoming first is not difficult," Lanno said.

According to him, the only neighboring country where an upward trend can be seen is Finland.

"Harju County is exhibiting a rapid growth trend and Ida-Viru County and now also Lääne-Viru County has been a point of concern. Harju County has been a trendsetter for the whole of Estonia. Problem areas also include Saaremaa and Võru County and Põlva County. Figures are above 500 [per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days] in 11 counties," Lanno said.

Estonia's current infection rate is 794.67 per 100,000 people.

Lanno said that Saaremaa's figure of 1,260 is worrying because everyone remembers what happened there in the spring.

"If we look at where the infection is spreading from, it is initially brought back from work or an educational institution, from where it is taken home and then back to work," he added.

Lanno said the infection multiplier, known as R, is approaching 1.2, and today, in the view of the four largest regions, there is no region where it is on a downward trend. "Reaching the 2,000 mark [of new cases per day] in two to three weeks' time is not very difficult," Lanno said.

Last week, more than 5,500 new cases of coronavirus were recorded across Estonia. Read ERR News' weekly round-up for more information.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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