Head of scientific council: Delta strain must be watched

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Irja Lutsar. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Although the coronavirus and other diseases spread slower in the summer, it is important to keep watch and, above all, on the delta strain, professor Irja Lutsar said on Tuesday.

Lutsar said so fat the delta or Indian strain has been brought to Estonia from Russia, and thus testing is also important on the Estonian-Russian border.

However, not all data published by Russia is always reliable. "It was strange when they said that there were more people infected than there were tests done," Lutsar said.

She added that it is important for all people who come to Estonia from Russia in the summer take a PCR test. This also applies when traveling from elsewhere.

"What amazes me about Russia is that they have quite a few vaccines, Sputnik is not their only vaccine, but only 10 percent of the population has been vaccinated," Lutsar said.

She said that on the basis of Hungary, it can be said that Sputnik V is an effective vaccine and that, in addition, vaccinations from other manufacturers are used in Russia.

Lutsar said that it's definitely necessary to get tested when traveling between different countries. She said, however, that it is not very sensible to take a test before boarding a plane, in an airport during the transfer and again at a destination airport.

"We need to find a balance," Lutsar said.

More people have received the first dose in Finland than in Estonia, but Lutsar said that there are more Estonians who have completed the cycle. Finland has left 12 weeks between the two injections as the UK did, but Lutsar said the approach was changed due to the delta strain, and there are now eight weeks between injections.

"We certainly have room for improvement and I hope that we will use this summertime, when the coronavirus is spreading less and there are generally fewer diseases, to the maximum, so that we can vaccinate our people," Lutsar said.

She added that vaccination centers are very good for vaccinating young people, but family doctors should still be considered for the elderly.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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