The government is to allocate €15 million towards mass coronavirus testing to year end.
€10 million is to come from a government reserve, and the remaining €5 million from the supplementary budget issued earlier this year to deal with the continuing effects of the pandemic.
Despite growing vaccination coverage, health minister Tanel Kiik (Center) says that PCR testing is still needed due to the spread of the more potent Delta strain of Covid, while the additional funding is required since most of that already budgeted for testing has already been spent.
"The state has already spent more than 95 percent, or €43.2 million, if its planned budget for coronavirus testing over 10 months," Kiik said, adding that the additional spend was needed to break chains of infection more quickly.
The funds themselves will be channeled to the Health Board (Terviseamet).
As to next year, large-scale PCR and also antigen testing will still be needed, Kiik said.
The €10 million from the government's reserved is being taken from an overbudget on money earmarked towards benefits arising from the reform to the second pillar of the national pension scheme – which refers to employer/employee contributions and is now voluntary where it had previously been mandatory for most wage earners.
The €5 million is from unspent supplementary budget funds.
While proof of a negative test result is no longer an acceptable form of certification for entering public events and venues, testing is still in use to ascertain whether or not a person has contracted the virus.
Editor: Andrew Whyte