Restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus will likely remain in place until at least the end of April, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said on Thursday.
"No easing of the current restrictions is likely until the end of April. All indications are that this is the case," said Aab at a press conference, adding he did not want to give false hope that there would be a relaxation sooner. The government will discuss restrictions next week, he said.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) responded to the criticism she received for saying Estonia would be under lockdown this summer if the infection rate does not fall.
"What did I say? I said that if these numbers don't come down, we can't ease the restrictions," Kallas said via video link. "Unfortunately it's a harsh truth."
She said the number of new cases has not fallen so it is not possible to talk about lifting restrictions.
"This means that the restrictions in this form must continue longer than we originally planned. Our wish was to have an infection rate of 500 by mid-April, now we are on 1,400 and unfortunately, it will not go down very quickly," Kallas said.
She said she understands the majority of people are following the rules but the number of cases needs to fall.
Kallas, who is recovering from coronavirus, said she is still working from home because she is infectious. Her family doctor has advised her to get vaccinated when she has fully recovered. Vaccination of government ministers will start today.
Restrictions closing shops and schools were originally in place until April 11. The current rules can be read here.
Editor: Helen Wright