PM: Estonia under lockdown for entire summer unless virus spread stops

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The infection rate in Estonia is continuously on the rise and unless the spread of the virus is contained, the country will remain under lockdown for the entire summer, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Tuesday.

Kallas wrote on Facebook that data from the scientific council advising the government and the Health Board shows, the restrictions have begun to have a stabilizing effect on current exponential growth of the spread of the coronavirus; however, it is too early to predict the final impact of the restrictions and a small yet firm uptick remains in the infection rate.

"The number of infections has grown 7 percent compared with last week. Growth in infection figures is over 10 percent in the age group 55 to 85. We have no counties with the R number below 1; instead, the infection rate has turned to growth in many counties," Kallas wrote. "Some 75 to 80 people are on average hospitalized daily. Ten people die in Estonia on average each day because of the coronavirus."

Kallas wrote that the more optimistic prognosis made at the time when extensive restrictions were established predicting that the daily number of new infections will drop to below 500 by mid-April is slipping away.

"Unless the spread of the virus stops, Estonia will remain under lockdown for the entire summer - just like our southerly neighbor Latvia has been under lockdown since November. Everything is on hold - the economy, social interaction," she said.

"While the government can impose endless restrictions, it is the people who need to follow to them," she said, adding that she urges everyone to think through what they can do to prevent contracting and transmitting the virus.

Kallas also urged party and political leaders to set aside their squabbles and concentrate on a unified battle against the coronavirus.

"Call on your supporters, too, to behave responsibly. It would be particularly helpful if the politicians who have the ear of the Russian-speaking community did so. It is time for unity and statesmanship," she said.

Kallid eestimaalased, meil on suur probleem. Tutvusin täna teadusnõukoja ja Terviseameti värskete materjalidega, mis...

Posted by Kaja Kallas on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 

Last week 10,309 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in Estonia - the first time more than 10,000 infections have been confirmed in a single week.

How can the spread of coronavirus be stopped?

  • The most efficient measure is keeping your distance.
  • 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.

Download 'HOIA'

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.

The free app can be downloaded at the Google Play Store or App Store. Read ERR News' feature about the app here. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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