Scientific council discussing conditions for lifting covid restrictions

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Irja Lutsar. Source: ERR / Siim Lõvi

The government's scientific advisory council is discussing when and under what circumstances coronavirus restrictions should be completely abolished in Estonia. It is likely a high level of vaccination will be a requirement.

Speaking to ERR on Tuesday, head of the workgroup Irja Lutsar said: "We discussed when Estonia, following the example of other Nordic countries, could remove restrictions but the discussions are still ongoing."

Finland has said all restrictions will be lifted when 80 percent of the population has been vaccinated but Lutsar said this will be a difficult target to hit in Estonia.

"But a high level of vaccination is one prerequisite," she stressed.

Vaccination has fallen in recent weeks and currently the vaccination rate among adults if 65 percent. The number of people who received a vaccine dose in Estonia last week is comparable to February which is before mass vaccination started.

Lutsar said there is no good solution to improve the situation. She pointed out that in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, in some age groups, almost 100 percent of older people have been vaccinated. But most groups in Estonia are not above 70 percent.

Lutsar encouraged people to get vaccinated and stressed that vaccines do not prevent complete infection, but prevent very serious illness. "80 percent of people who end up in hospital have not received any dose of the vaccine," she said.

Lutsar believes it is important to monitor the impact of schools reopening but does not see a sudden surge in the near future.

"We have not had a sharp increase, but a continuous quiet increase every day," Lutsar said. "There is no surge and there probably won't be because we don't have any events that could cause a surge."

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Editor: Helen Wright

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