Interior minister: We are still very far from establishing curfew

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Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani told ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" that Estonia is still very far from implementing a curfew to battle the spread of COVID-19.

Jaani said on Wednesday morning that if infection rates in Estonia do not begin to fall, stricter restrictions will be considered. But he did confirm that Estonia is not likely to establish a curfew, as fellow Baltic countries Latvia and Lithuania have done.

"We had an emergency situation in spring, but compared to the crisis in spring, Estonia's legal space has changed and we can make many decisions now without an emergency situation," the former Police and Border Guard Board chief of the North Prefecture said.

The next step in implementing restrictions would be a complete closure of malls and eating establishments, save for grocery stores. "I believe this should not be done and I sincerely believe that entrepreneurs and securityy staff are making an effort to beat this virus," Jaani said.

Restrictions established on Tuesday will see eating establishments and shops closing on weekends from Saturday, March 6. They will remain open during the week, however.

The minister said this decision was to achieve a balance between closing society and giving people freedom to move, but he did not rule out having to go over this specific restriction if infection rates do not improve.

Jaani, who is currently unaffiliated with any party, but will likely join Center sometime in the future, acknowledged traders and store owners for implementing safety measures so far. "If we make an effort together, we can defeat this virus faster," he said.

Among other things, the interior minister admonished people to wear masks in the workplace, because that is where people most commonly get infected with the coronavirus.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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