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Ratas not ruling out new coronavirus emergency situation

Jüri Ratas.
Jüri Ratas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The government has not yet discussed establishing an emergency situation but it must be considered if scheduled hospital treatments are suspended, as in Latvia, Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas said on Tuesday.

Speaking to ERR, the former prime minister commented on Latvia's upcoming lockdown. He said if scheduled treatment is suspended then there are no other options.

Ratas said the resilience of hospitals is the most important thing to keep in mind.

"If it doesn't exist anymore, and planned treatment closes, then there is no escape from restrictions. This theoretically raises awareness that we are not very far from the emergency," he said.

Ratas said an emergency situation has not yet been discussed, but this possibility must be taken into account.

"If our hospitals receive signals similar to those in Latvia, then all possibilities and measures must be used," he said.

Ratas said when Estonia's emergency situation was called almost 18 months ago there were fewer people infected and in hospital. But he said declaring an emergency situation was the only right decision at that time.

"At that time, we did not have the knowledge about the virus that we do now. No one had it. It was the only right decision at the time and took Estonian society through the first wave and helped prepare us for the second wave," he said.

The government met on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. to discuss the coronavirus situation. 

As far as the ERR is aware, the Reform Party is discussing possible new restrictions on unvaccinated people.

Ratas told ERR he hoped the government would be able to agree on additional restrictions and new measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"If this does not happen, we may be facing the same thing [as Latvia]," he said.

The Center Party is in coalition with the Reform Party and new measures will need to be agreed upon by both parties.

As of Tuesday morning, there are 412 coronavirus patients being treated in Estonian hospitals. The Health Board has said getting to 650 would be "very bad". In spring, at the peak, there were over 700 patients in hospital.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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