Professor: Mask-wearing requirement should only remain on public transport

The indoor mask-wearing requirement should be removed with the exception of public transport, University of Tartu professor and member of the government's coronavirus advisory council Andres Merits told ERR radio channel Vikerraadio's morning show 'Vikerhommik'.

The government has said that the mask requirement will be removed in the middle of June. Merits said that if the current trend continues, it would be reasonable.

"In fact, the council thought that the requirement could be removed on June 7 and be replaced with recommendations. But leave some exceptions - public transport for instance, where people are in close contact," Merits said.

Merits also commented on profit growth strategist, Indrek Saul's calculations that by the end of June, herd immunity will be achieved. Merits said that Saul's calculations are correct, but we don't know exactly what will be the effectiveness of the spread of the virus and whether 70 is the critical limit.

"Or is it 75 or 80 percent? We are talking about vaccinating adults. Among children, the virus can spread unabated. My current recommendation is to continue with vaccination at a fast pace and follow common sense."

Merits also said that based on the current information, the currently used vaccines are also effective against the new coronavirus strains.

"Even though the existing information is scarce, then the data about the Indian strain show that the used vaccines are relatively effective. But based on all signs, the strain responds to the vaccines."

Commenting on making the AstraZeneca vaccine open for everybody, Merits said that nothing bad would happen, but the decision should be made by an expert committee of immunoprophylaxis.

"The AstraZeneca vaccine is very effective against the strains spreading in Europe and maybe even better than Janssen. However, they have problems with delivery."

Merits commented on the speculations that the virus had escaped from the Wuhan lab. Merits has been to Wuhan.

"There is no doubt that the virus originates from a natural source. Is the lab where the virus researched somehow associated and it escaped the lab? There are no epidemiological signs that refer to it. It looks like a virus that has been transferred from a natural object."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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