Scientific council chief: Tallinn is carrying infection decline in Estonia

Irja Lutsar.
Irja Lutsar. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Head of the government's coronavirus advisory council, Professor Irja Lutsar, says that the fall in coronavirus infections in Estonia is led by Tallinn, though a converse rise in infections in Ida-Viru County is worrying.

"I am worried about Ida-Viru County where there is an increase in infections. Specifically in Ida-Viru County cities, and especially in Narva. But there's a decrease in Tallinn and it is carrying the decrease of the whole country," Lutsar told ERR Tuesday.

Lutsar said that internal outbreaks in the hospitals have occurred in South Estonia, where employees who haven't been vaccinated, get infected.

"It is paradoxical that where the vaccination rate is the lowest, the infection rate is the highest. It should be that where the infection rate is high, there people want to be safe from the virus. But it isn't like that, unfortunately," Lutsar said.

At the same time, the infection is very low in some areas of South Estonia and when the infection increases a little higher, it wouldn't too bad in Lutsar's opinion.

Long-term strict restrictions don't work

Looking at the restrictions established by different states, Lutsar stressed that long-term restrictions are not working.

For example, with Estonia's southern neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania, strict restrictions have been in place since the end of October last year, rules which Lithuania has now somewhat relaxed but Latvia hasn't. At the same time, the infection rates of both states are again higher than Estonia's, she said.

Restriction fatigue was also a consideration, Lutsar added.

"People are starting to get tired of restrictions. People can no longer be severely restricted for more than half a year. The same can be seen in other countries. There is an increase in infection in the Netherlands. Long-term strict restrictions alone do not work. The schools and restaurants were open for a certain amount of time and it was possible to move within their region, but not between regions. The more relaxed restrictions give better results," Lutsar said.

At the same time, she pointed out that there have been strict restrictions in Norway as well, but they have managed to keep the infection numbers under control.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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