A relaxation of the new lockdown coronavirus restrictions could be expected at the end of April at the latest, University of Tartu's virology professor Andres Merits said on Tuesday.
"Usually there have been two mistakes made with the restrictions: they have been established too late and too little and secondly: they are relaxed too early and too much. My estimation is that the end of April, the start of May is a realistic time," Merits said.
Merits said the reason behind the current spread of the virus is the combination of old problems and the British variant.
Commenting on the newly established restrictions, Merits said that they are similar to the restrictions established in other European states, more specifically in Ireland when the British variant started to spread.
Estonia's conditions might not be the same as the conditions in Ireland in December, but the measures will be effective, Merits said. He said that Estonia has a different population density and behavior patterns.
"In addition, it is clear the coronaviruses are seasonal. And if in Ireland, the virus reached its culmination, then it should move in a downward direction for us. But sadly not fast enough for it to be enough alone," Merits added.
He said that the stricter restrictions established two weeks ago have definitely helped. "It is difficult to prove now, but it's clear if the mask requirement hadn't been established or compensated with another measure, the numbers would have increased much earlier."
Talking about the different variants, Merits said that there have been under 10 cases of the South African variant found in Estonia and no Brazilian variant cases. The professor added that there are no specific measures for limiting different variants.
Merits confirmed that the vaccinations used currently are effective against the British variant.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright