While there are 700 new coronavirus cases a day, the most important indicator is the number of people in hospital, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Thursday.
The number of patients will drive the need for restrictions, Kiik said. He called on people to get vaccinated as this will help reduce hospitals' workloads.
"Right now, we need to focus on hospital treatment, because a vaccinated person can also give a positive test, but they do not end up in hospital," the minister said.
There are currently half as many patients in hospital compared to last winter, before the vaccination process started, Kiik said. As of Friday morning, 209 patients are receiving treatment for coronavirus.
Estonia's R rate is 1.1 which means the infection rate is rising and the number of new cases may reach 1,500 per day by the end of October.
"The infection rate has also risen in countries with high vaccination rates, but this is inevitable in an open society," he said.
Kiik said the number of people vaccinated will determine when the pandemic ends. Estonia is aiming to have 70 percent of people vaccinated. The rate is 62 percent among adults, as of Friday morning.
The recommendation of the government's scientific advisory council is to remove restrictions when 70 percent is reached, Kiik said.
Editor: Helen Wright