Health minister: I supported stricter restrictions

Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center) told ETV's current affairs show "Ringvaade" on Thursday that he supported establishing stricter restrictions than what the government approved on Thursday.

Kiik told "Ringvaade" that Estonia has remained a relatively open society in a situation where the spread of infection has been high. This means very little is needed for infection rates to hike to critical levels.

"We have opened the education field, we have eased some restrictions compared to the previous ones, but now we see that we must again take a more strict line," the minister noted.

He said he would approve of even stricter restrictions than what was agreed on Thursday. "Since we see the numbers increasing very rapidly and the trend - 20 to 30 percent increase per week - is a record for Estonia. In a situation where the number of patients needing hospitalization at 500, we do not have much room for error when establishing restrictions," Kiik said.

"But certainly, stopping the virus will depend on the rules the government has established, but on the other hand, also on our everyday choices. And I believe a majority of the population takes the situation seriously," the minister added.

The government's decisions on Thursday correspond in large part with the recommendations from the government's scientific council. "In some sectors, malls for example, the council's proposal was indeed more strict - a complete shutdown, leave for essential services and stores. For some sectors, we can say we took the scientific council's package, for example shortening opening times for catering establishments. In education, there were some exceptions, even on the stricter side," the minister explained.

"In principle, I think the scientific council was pleased with the government's decision. I personally supported an even stricter position than the council at this time. For the simple reason that such a rapid increase in infections creates a situation, where it is better and more reasonable to make more decisions now than begin correcting them later," Kiik added.

He noted that while he support stricter restrictions, he has never supported a curfew, as was used in Latvia.

Another measure to be implemented is shutting down wifi in malls. "To put it bluntly - hanging out in malls needs to be stopped," Kiik said, adding that it is also not reasonable to go shopping at malls and staying at home should be preferred, in addition to working from home and ordering goods in.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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