Social Democratic Party MP and former health minister Jevgeni Ossinovski said the government does not have a plan to tackle the coronavirus crisis and called the situation embarrassing because it has led to a situation, in which the only option is to close society.
"There is actually nothing else left to do, restrictions that cut down on contacts are absolutely necessary," Ossinovski said in the Riigikogu on Thursday. "This is where we have gotten to as a result of bad leadership."
He said that while vaccinations are the only sustainable solution in the long-term, it will not solve the current crisis in terms of hospitalizations. "Even if we take all our unvaccinated people to get vaccinated tomorrow, the hospital crisis is still acute because immunity just does not develop as fast," Ossinovski said.
He said the government should immediately implement restrictions, which would help Estonia to take its R rate infection indicator below 1. "This is the only way to avoid a disaster and it should be done," Ossinovski said.
The reproduction number (R) is the average number of secondary infections produced by a single infected person. An R value of 1 means that on average every person who is infected will infect 1 other person, meaning the total number of infections is stable. As of Tuesday, the R rate in Estonia is around 1.15.
"An actually drawn up action plan - what can be done to finally beat this. This does not exist. But they are discussing it. Discussing, always discussing, endlessly discussing," Ossinovski said.
"We have seen what indecisiveness brings. We saw the costs of it in the spring: months of strict restrictions, €700 million worth of supplemental budgets. And now we have been led to the same edge within the same calendar year. What did we hear today? The government will discuss, there are different opinions in the government and they will discuss them. They are discussing right now," the former minister MP said.
Ossinovski pointed out that infections have gone up 128 percent in the 85+ age group, but some 25,000 people in that group are still not vaccinated and the government is discussing, whether or not masks should be worn in theater. "Come on! This is a disaster we are facing. And what will we gain from it?"
He pointed to statements made by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) over the previous days. "We must make vaccinations more efficient, we are working all day and night to promote vaccinations. There are many things that have been done and many things still ongoing and many things are still being discussed, which will all promote vaccinations," Ossinovski quoted the prime minister.
"I mean, really, the situation we have put healthcare workers in is hurtful and embarrassing," Ossinovski said. "People are overworked, they no longer want to go there, people are not willing to work in coronavirus wards for money. And you can understand that. It is filthy and hard work."
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste