Health minister: Ott resignation won't spell changes to Covid restrictions

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center).
Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The resignation of culture minister Anneli Ott (Center) will not spell any changes to the government's overall coronavirus restrictions between now and year-end, health minister Tanel Kiik (Center) says. Ott resigned citing irreconcilable differences of opinion on restrictions policy she had with the government, and in particular the Reform Party, the senior partner in the coalition.

Kiik, Ott's party-mate, said that: "These decisions cannot be reversed by the cabinet in the current conditions of viral spread," Kiik told ERR Tuesday afternoon.

"They are currently agreed to be valid until January 10 2022, "he added."

While the government's coronavirus advisory council recommended the government impose an obligation of self-isolation on people who have family members infected with the coronavirus, such a restriction could remain just that, a recommendation, and nothing more, Kiik said.

"We do not have an agreement today for us to change this commitment to self-isolation on Thursday," he said. "Whether we are going to alter the legal order at some point is difficult to say at the moment, because these discussions have not been so thorough at cabinet level."

Kiik, who was health minister in the Center/EKRE/Isamaa coalition when the coronavirus first arrived and has remained in office since then in the Center/Reform coalition, also shed light on cabinet-level discussions on restrictions, which he said were always multifarious.

He said: "Through the course of the COVID-19 crisis, there have never been two or three positions on the government table, there have always been more thoughts and suggestions."

These discussions have always been thorough and focused on how to promote vaccination on the one hand, while at the same time ensuring the openness and continuation of various events and activities. 

"Currently, we have reached these decisions based on the assessments of the Scientific Council and the Health Board," he said.

"We can see that the [government's coronavirus advisory] scientific council also has differing views - views which also change over time, as data gets updated, knowledge grows and the epidemiological situation changes," he continued.

Anneli Ott (Center), who resigned as culture minister Tuesday over differences on coronavirus strategy between her and the Reform Party, said that differentiation between vaccinated and unvaccinated people should not happen, at least with regard to cultural events, and that proof of negative coronavirus test results should be reinstated as a valid certification for entry to an event or venue where checks take place.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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