Lutsar: Coronavirus infection rate will fall soon

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Irja Lutsar. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The head of the government's scientific council Professor Irja Lutsar has said Estonia's high infection rate will start to fall soon, based on evidence from other countries.

"Looking at infection numbers that are very high, then no country has stayed at such a high rate. Every country has come down from there," Lutsar said.

She said that many countries are living at low rates of coronavirus.

"There is no real decline in infection when we talk about Europe - that the level of infection will be 50 people per 100,000 inhabitants in two weeks - there is no such thing," she said.

Lutsar also highlighted that some countries were seeing a rise in infection rates such as Poland, France, Germany and Italy.

Lifting restrictions from vaccinated people is a bad idea

Lutsar said that the idea of opening restaurants and other entertainment facilities to people who have had the virus or been vaccinated, can not currently be implemented.

"Wouldn't we then create a situation where the elderly need the vaccine, but because younger people want to go out more and are louder, that they will start fighting for the vaccine. I see such a danger," Lutsar said.

"It is easier to organize going to work. But to identify if somebody going to a club, restaurant, disco is vaccinated or not... Who will monitor it and how will it be looked at in society, especially now, when we see that there is not enough vaccine for everybody," she said.

Lutsar said she does not recommend that anyone knowingly infect themself in order to get coronavirus: "I warn people not to get sick, and I do not recommend it to anyone. Do not do it for God's sake!"

There is not much room for tightening restrictions

Lutsar said the council this week discussed the current restrictions and situation in hospitals.

"We discussed the current situation - if and how the current restrictions will affect the situation and what could happen next. But I agree that there is no room for tightening the current restrictions and at the same time, lifting them isn't likely either because the infection rate is still very high," she said.

Vaccination has developed well

"Of course we discussed vaccination, how is it going in Estonia. And problems related to AstraZeneca. Several members of the council said they would like to acknowledge positions related to the vaccination," Lutsar said.

"Considering the lack of vaccine doses and everything happening around the vaccination, we have managed well. 10 percent of the population and over 30 percent of over 80-year-olds have been vaccinated. Currently, nobody has the chance to bring more vaccine doses to Estonia - if we had more vaccines, then a lot of doctors would have said that we would vaccinate more, but it's currently delayed by the lack of supply and unpredictable arrival," Lutsar said.

Stopping the AstraZeneca vaccine is not justified

Lutsar emphasized that considering several countries have stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine, the side effects should definitely be studied, but using it should not be stopped entirely. It is reasonable to keep curing the high infection rate with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"Definitely such cases need to be investigated. We can't say it's nothing. But it's also right that in England where 20 million people have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, nothing like this has been seen," she said.

Shee also emphasized that both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had said that there were currently no more blood clots in the vaccine population than in the general population and that there was no evidence that it was linked to the vaccine.

"And it also depends to some extent on the epidemiological situation - if the epidemiological situation is relatively calm, as it is now in Spain, for example, vaccination can be suspended for a while. Our situation is quite different," Lutsar said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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