Tallinn to assist apartment associations battle COVID-19 outbreaks

Apartment buildings in Lasnamäe, Tallinn.
Apartment buildings in Lasnamäe, Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Tallinn will activate an extraordinary procedure on Monday to assist apartment associations that have large outbreaks, informing residents and providing them with masks and sanitizer.

Apartment associations which have an outbreak of five or more people will be informed by placing notices and face masks in occupants' mailboxes. The association will also be provided with sanitizer, Lasnamäe district mayor Vladimir Svet told ERR on Thursday.

He said the Lasnamäe district asked the Health Board for information about apartment associations with the most infections at the start of the year and an agreement was made two weeks ago which will allow the district access to infection data. According to Svet, the information is necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the apartment buildings.

Tallinn City Government has decided that the same action will be implemented across the capital city. Svet said it is reasonable, because even if Lasnamäe's infection rates are highest in the city, Haabersti is not far off and there are large apartment blocks in every region in Tallinn. "It is important that the virus is contained in densely populated places," he emphasized.

Svet added that there could be a dozen or more apartment associations that are considered outbreaks in Lasnamäe. "That is why we will begin informing the people living in the building about the situation, put masks in mailboxes and provide the association with sanitizer and trainings so they could clean infectious surfaces," the Lasnamäe mayor said, adding that people will be encouraged to stop using elevators or use them one by one.

Svet noted that security workers in Lasnamäe's malls and other stores have already been schooled on how to ensure people would wear masks in the building. "Hopefully we will reach a situation where all stores, even the smallest ones, demand buyers wear a mask and offer no service to those without masks. So mask wearing would not be a topic anymore," he explained.

Svet participated in the Health Board's discussions on Thursday and said that in addition to residential buildings and malls, Lasnamäe is also hit hard by workplace outbreaks. He said he asked the Health Board for data about outbreaks in the city district to deal with the companies directly - encouraging them to implement stricter measures and allow people work from home. "It is our next priority," the district mayor said.

He also spoke about his worries about tensions in society and differences between corona-skeptics and the remaining people. "It is important that we take this calmly and would not stigmatize such groups. Those who believe in the virus' existence and those who do not all can get infected," Svet concluded.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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