Scientific council: People returning from travel should get tested

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Irja Lutsar. Source: ERR / Siim Lõvi

Unvaccinated people returning to Estonia from international travel should certainly get tested upon arrival, head of the government's scientific council Irja Lutsar told ERR on Thursday.

Lutsar told ERR that the Delta variant is more aggressive and spreads more widely, but it still responds to the currently available vaccines. All Delta cases in Estonia have been brought in from abroad.

"Everyone who returns from travel and is not vaccinated with two doses should get tested in the airport, wait for the results and go from there, as procedure," the virology professory said.

Estonia's infection rate has seen a slight increase recently, but Lutsar said the situation must be approached rationally with vaccination as a key. "We must think our next steps through carefully and the first thing to do is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. It is still the only thing I have seen that actually helps against serious illness," she said.

The scientific council head has followed developments in Great Britain, where infections are again rising, but not too many people require hospital treatment thanks to the wide vaccine coverage. She added that if Great Britain and Russia were to be compared, the former's situation is far better.

"If we look at the number of [daily] deaths, it is around 600-700 in Russia and 20-30 in Great Britain. This shows that vaccines work," Lutsar said, specifying that while Russia is a larger country, there is a major difference in the number of deaths.

The professor said additional restrictions should be the final solution to limit infections and in addition to vaccinations, it is important that infected people self-isolate and not carry the infection onwards.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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