In comparison with other European countries, Estonia reached the peak of its latest coronavirus wave much faster, the acting director general of the Health Board has said.
Speaking on ETV's "Ringvaade" on Wednesday, Mari-Anne Härma said the Delta strain of the virus has proven to be a bigger challenge than initially expected. This is the reason for high infection rates across Europe.
In recent days several countries have reimposed restrictions, such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland. Germany is experiencing its highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic.
Härma said countries with higher vaccination rates took a little longer to catch up with the current trend. Countries with lower levels of vaccination - such as Estonia and Latvia - felt the impact earlier.
"Inevitably, the infection rate is rising in all countries now, at least in most European countries," she said. Härma hopes Estonia can keep the next wave of COVID-19 at bay for some time.
She said the current waves in Europe and Estonia have much in common.
"The pattern is quite similar. In Estonia, it started in the same way. Young people got sick - young unvaccinated people spread the virus and then it spread quietly, reaching parents. Then the need for hospital treatment gradually increased," Härma said.
It cannot be ruled out that countries may close their borders to foreigners again.
"In fact, I can't say today what the virus will do in the future, so I don't dare rule out any variety of measures this winter," she said.
Härma hoped Christmas will be better in Estonia than elsewhere as the R rate is already below one, meaning the infection rate is no longer growing.
Editor: Helen Wright