Prime minister: Cinemas seem insignificant during hospital wartime

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said hospitals are in a war-like situation with coronavirus treatment and restrictions should be imposed on children's access to entertainment.

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna said on Tuesday that a proposal has been made to the government to ask children aged 12-18 for coronavirus certificates at entertainment venues. The government is yet to make a decision on the proposal.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on ETV's interview show "Esimene stuudio" on Tuesday that the government will first discuss coronavirus testing in schools.

"We will discuss different methods and the first thing we will discuss, is how things were done in Austria and some other countries, where they had multiple screening tests a week. Students come to school on Monday, there are tests on their desks and the teachers make sure they do the rapid tests," Kallas said, adding that testing would only need to be done if the students and teachers are unvaccinated.

The prime minister confirmed that schools would not ask students for coronavirus certificates. "We will try to keep schools open as much as possible so all children could go to school and we will not ask for Covid certificates," Kallas said.

Show host Andres Kuusk asked the prime minister if entertainment venues will have to start asking children for vaccination or recovery certificates going forward. "Do you understand, there is essentially a wartime situation in our hospitals and you are talking about someone going to the movies. It does not seem reasonable to me," Kallas said.

"Children must be able to go to school and hobby education and we will do all we can. But asking me if children should have the right to go to the cinema without a vaccination certificate during a time when our hospitals are in war. It does not seem balanced to me," she added.

Kallas said hospitals have been overburdened by people who have not gotten vaccinated. "There are people in the third wave that have gotten vaccinated, who have done everything to live their normal lives. Imposing restrictions on them should be the final step. We must first restrict those who have not acted responsibly. Why should we punish people who have followed all the rules and cared for others by getting vaccinated and by following rules," the prime minister said.

She said the government is not planning on forcing vaccinations on anyone, but will try to create different options to increase the vaccination rate.

Kallas hopes the stricter self-isolation and testing restrictions going into force from next week can help hospitals. She noted, however, that measures alone will not help and that people have to act responsibly.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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