Wastewater study shows Estonia's virus spread is slowing down

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Wastewater treatment plant in Tallinn. Source: Tallinna Vesi

The spread of the coronavirus in wastewater has slowed to some extent, the results of the University of Tartu's latest monitoring study show.

Data from this week's testing suggest the situation continues to be serious in northern Estonia and Tartu but the concentration of the virus has decreased in central and southern Estonia.

Lead researcher Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson said these results may reflect the impact of the extensive restrictions imposed a few weeks ago.

"Whether it is the beginning of a steady decline or just a temporary fluctuation – we will see in the next weeks. Hopefully, our joint efforts are bearing fruit and the spread of the virus is beginning to gradually slow down," Tenson said.

Last week, the samples collected from the wastewater treatment plants of nearly all larger towns and cities of Estonia showed high concentration of the coronavirus. This week, the concentration has dropped to an average level in nearly half of the sampling sites.

Results of the wastewater monitoring study March 22-26. Source: University of Tartu.

Wastewater samples are collected at the beginning of every week in all Estonian county centres and cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The monitoring helps to find hidden outbreaks and observe changes in the dynamics of outbreaks.

For more information and the interactive map with the previous results of the study, see the home page of the study "Detecting coronavirus in waste water".

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Editor: Helen Wright

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