While a third coronavirus wave is likely to appear, vaccinations will help negate its severity, an expert says.
Statistician Krista Fischer, a professor at the University of Tartu, told ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Friday that it was hard to predict what Monday's easing of restrictions will bring.
"We hope that ... a number of factors, both spring time and vaccination, will contribute, and that the decline will continue even after Monday's openings," he added.
Vaccinations will continue through summer into fall, she added, which over time will bring benefits, but might not be enough to head off a third wave.
"Perhaps we will not be able to meet the summer [vaccination target] right now, but instead postpone it to autumn, so that so many people will have been vaccinated by the fall that even, if some growth [in coronavirus rates] comes, we will be able to maintain a situation where there will not be many seriously ill people," she added.
"I would rather to hope that it will not come at all, but being realistic, it seems that it is probably not possible to hope," she went on.
Studies have been giving contradictory results, making the prognosis for what will happen after Monday's easing of regulations harder, she said. While cafes and restaurants present key potential hazard zones, she said, the situation with schools depends on how things are organized, whether measures such as dispersal, mask-wearing and ventilation are put in place etc.
From Monday, May 3, restaurants and bars can open their outdoor terraces and sell food and drink again until 9 p.m.
Estonia's coronavirus rate has been on a downward plane, but the decline itself has slowed down, she said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte