EKRE leader: Public should ignore latest coronavirus restrictions

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EKRE leader Martin Helme. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The public should refuse to abide by the latest round of coronavirus restrictions, opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Martin Helme says, adding that the rationale behind his call was that the government which imposed them has failed in its management of the pandemic.

On a post on his social media account Thursday evening, Helme said: "I call on the public to disregard the government's new restrictions, in thee manner of civil disobedience."

The government announced Thursday that mandatory face-masks on public transport would be making a return from next Monday, while the limits on attendees at events who cannot, or will not, check the coronavirus status of guests have been set lower than those events which can conduct checks.

"After seven months of inaction and inability after coming to power, the decision was made to tighten the screws brutally, and overnight, as something of a show of force," Helme went on.

"To no effect. All are indiscriminately punished for the failure. We do not have to accept these new restrictions. We do not have to agree with this failed government. The previous government succeeded. I guess the next one can do so too," Helme continued.

Restrictions were broadly lifted through May and June, but rising rates have prompted the return of some of them, as well as renewed calls for speeding up the vaccination process, which has to date resulted in around half the population inoculated.

Helme said that he was not opposed to vaccinations as such, having had the shot himself, but rather had an issue with the implementation of the program, as well as other aspects of pandemic management.

"However, the way today's government 'advertises' vaccines probably makes everyone, in addition to becoming anti-government, into anti-vaxxers too."

"Plus the way the Kallas government punishes society as a whole for its own incompetence and incapacity is disgusting. Get out of here. Step down from office and leave," he went on, also making an oblique reference to Mailis Reps, who was Center's chief negotiator in January's coalition talks, as "your coffee friend" - meaning an expenses scandal including the purchase of a coffee-making machine which broke late last year and prompted Reps' resignation as education minister.

Reps was at the time in a coalition which included EKRE, and in which Martin Helme served as finance minister.

The government has also been looking at requiring restaurants, cafes and other catering outlets to check the vaccine certification of customers.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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