Last week's infection figures were not significantly lower than in the preceding weeks, professor Irja Lutsar, head of the scientific council advising the government has said. The rate of infection appears to have stabilized at a very high level.
"There is definitely no downward trend, however," she stressed to newspaper Postimees, adding that the infection rate plateauing out at such a high level is attributable to the new virus strain as well as people's behavior.
"Looking at the situation in the streets, it is nothing like in spring last year. People are walking around without keeping a distance from one another; there is a lot of traffic, which means that people are not staying at home," the virologist said.
Lutsar said the British strain currently spreading in Estonia is more virulent and causes more severe courses of illness and as a result also higher mortality. With the virus now being transmitted most frequently between people aged 30 to 50, compliance with coronavirus rules is particularly important, she added.
"On the one hand, the course of the disease is generally not severe for young people; on the other hand, however, they transmit it at a rapid pace," Lutsar noted.
It cannot be said that the current restrictions have not had any impact, according to the virologist.
"The restrictions led to [the infection figures] stabilizing at a very high level; without them we'd be in a very deep crisis today," Lutsar said, adding that as a result of the stabilization, infection figures should be lower by the end of April.
Lutsar noted that while the spread of the virus remains critical in northern Estonia, it means that people are not traveling extensively between counties.
Last week over 10,000 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in Estonia for the first time. Read more on ERR News' weekly round-up.
How can the spread of coronavirus be stopped?
- The most efficient measure is keeping your distance.
- In crowded places and especially indoors where it is not possible to keep your distance from other people, it is advisable to wear a mask.
- Closed, crowded spaces should be avoided if possible.
- Hands must be washed frequently with soap and warm water.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissue.
- Anyone who becomes ill should stay at home, even if their symptoms are mild.
- People who develop any symptoms should contact their family physician.
You can also download Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app 'HOIA' which will alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.
Editor: Helen Wright