'Olukorrast riigis': Government too quick to dial back restrictions

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Restaurant in Tallinn's Old Town Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government has set about lifting restrictions too forcefully, host of the "Olukorrast riigis" talk show Hindrek Riikoja found.

"It is clear that rapid recovery is being attempted. We will see how that will reflect in [coronavirus] figures. The scientific council did not recommend the government to undertake such extensive alleviation of measures," Riikoja said, pointing to the decision to open shops, outdoor cafes and museums and allow children of grades 1-4 to return to school.

Indrek Lepik found that every opening no doubt comes with a consequence, while people cannot remain behind closed doors forever. He described the decision to open schools as inescapable.

"The number one question before the summer break was whether children would get to return to school. Now, it is clear that children will be able to attend school in May," he said.

The host added that little can change for schools as children will continue to spread the virus even if they themselves are not seriously afflicted by it.

"There can be no doubt that schools are among the 'best places' for the virus to spread, while attending school is important for children and is not something we can dismiss just like that," Lepik concluded.

Riikoja added that the government could have considered regional exceptions for schools.

"Why keep schools closed for fifth-graders and older students on the island of Kihnu if over half of new cases are registered in Tallinn and Harju County?" Exceptions could have been allowed on the islands, in southern and western Estonia as regional school attendance does not involve the risk of people traveling from one county to another, unlike in the case of spas.

Lepik pointed out that the pandemic has not stopped people going abroad and that families of elementary school children have also traveled to Egypt and elsewhere. Because not all teachers have taken advantage of vaccination, the risk of the virus going around schools again is quite real.

Riikoja said that every teacher is obligated to take a responsible approach to vaccination and allow themselves to be immunized unless there is a serious health problem to prevent it.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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