Health Board: Drop in infections has gone beyond expectations

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Mari-Anne Härma. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia's infection indicator (R rate) has hovered around 0.7-0.8 for a few weeks now and infections are trending downward, which provides hope that there will be no more restrictions during the summer and Estonia will not suffer from another jump in infections in the fall, said Health Board deputy director Mari-Anne Härma on Monday morning.

"The most beautiful scenarios sees us having days of zero cases in the end of July. The drop [in infections] has been beyond expectations currently," Härma said.

The Health Board discussed quite recently that if easing restrictions leads to an increase in infections, it could happen in July-August, which would mean there would be need for new restrictions in the middle of summer, which would have been hard to handle. "Looking at the current numbers, I hope that we will not see a great increase in infections before fall," Härma told ETV's morning show "Terevisioon".

Estonia is heading toward 50 percent vaccine coverage nationwide and while there is no concrete marker for herd immunity, there have been talks of 70 percent coverage being sufficient. "50 percent is already effective," Härma said, adding that vaccine effectiveness can be noted in Estonia and other European countries.

"Israel is a very good example, where once they reached 60 percent, the number of infected people went down, the number of hospitalizations went down. 50 percent is a good step, we want to reach 60 percent coverage for the adult population by the end of the summer. 70 percent is a goal for the end of the year," Härma said.

The Health Board wants people to take advantage of the vaccination option throughout the summer. By fall, when infections could begin to grow again, people should have already gotten their second vaccination dose so that Estonia would head into the third wave safely, Härma added.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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