Health Board: Coronavirus 'R' rate dips below 1.0, likely temporary

Coronavirus testing signage.
Coronavirus testing signage. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia's 'R' rate of coronavirus transmission dipped below the 1.0 mark on Saturday, which would signal a fall in the rate of spread. However, experts say, the value could be a blip following the national holiday Friday, marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Restoration of Independence.

The figure nonetheless has hovered around the 1.0-mark over the past few days – the Health Board's (Terviseamet) deputy director Mari-Anne Härma put the figure at 1.05, saying that: "This is a kind of stabilization indicator when looking at last week's results – last week was a relatively stable week."

"R" fluctuated around the 1.0-mark, dipping below it on Saturday, but further analysis is needed to see what this means in the longer term, Härma said. "R" had been between 1.1 and 1.3 in mid-July, prompting forecasts of daily rates of around 400 by mid-August.

Statistician and member of the government's coronavirus advisory board Krista Fischer agreed with Härma and the Health Board, adding that the relatively high number reported for Monday (319, compared with 101 on Sunday) might bump the numbers up again.

Fischer said: "I suspect it won't stay below 1.0 yet. Hopefully it won't be much more than 1, but the situation needs to be monitored for a few days now," adding that there hadn't been any rise in "R" to speak of in the past seven days either.

The graph below describes "R" through 2021 so far.

'R' rate in 2021 so far. Red line marks the benchmark 1.0 rate. Source: Krista Fischer

The long weekend which accompanied the independence day festivities likely meant that fewer people went for testing than is usually the case, ERR reports.

The requirement to wear a face-mask on public transport was recently reinstated, while from August 26 this will be mandatory again in stores, while a rule already in place for requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination or negative test result at larger events is now being extended to events, a quite broadly-defined term, of all sizes from next month.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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