Infection rate remains just above 0.8

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A sign asking customers to please wear a mask in Tallinn's Viru Keskus shopping center. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The coronavirus infection rate - known as the R rate - still remains just above 0.8 and has displayed a slight downward trend, scientific council mathematical statistician Krista Fischer told ERR.

"The indicator has generally continued its downward trend. Whether the trend has slowed down, we can say in a few days," Fischer said of the largely unchanged indicator from last week.

She added that according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) risk assessments, Estonia remains a high-risk country and before restrictions could be eased, a drop in infections must first be confirmed.

The R rate (link in Estonian), a statistical indicator of how many people an infected person transmits the coronavirus to on average, is an indicator based on which the scientific council and government establish or ease restrictions. A range of 0.8-0.85 has been pointed out as one possible factor that can lead to schools being reopened again.

Cannot base easing restrictions only on the R rate

"I think easing in education must happen gradually. We should start with those whose problems are sharpest, meaning primary and graduating classes," Fischer said and added that she could not yet specify a date for when contact learning can be restored.

She added that decisions about restrictions cannot be made based purely on the infection indicator. But as infection indicators begin to drop, outdoor activities could be opened again.

"The probability of infection is lower outdoors and that can be where easing restrictions can be discussed. Sports is also in the interest of health in general," the statistician said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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