Health Board does not recommend easing coronavirus restrictions
The Health Board does not recommend the government relax coronavirus restrictions at the moment, said Mari-Anne Härma, acting director general of the Health Board, on Wednesday.
Speaking on the morning radio show "Vikerhommik", Härma said the agency is advising caution.
She said experts do not yet know why the number of coronavirus cases and the number of people in hospitals have started to rise again. The next two weeks will show whether the trend stabilizes or increases.
"With this uncertainty, we do not recommend changes," said Härma, adding the situation is not the same as it was five weeks ago when cases were falling.
The government has floated the idea of temporarily lifting some restrictions for New Year's Eve. A decision will be made this week.
However, the Health Board also understands the government must take other aspects into account, she said. As long as the workload of hospitals remains stable, the Health Board will not recommend new measures.
Härma said it is inevitable the omicron strain will spread in Estonia and the current rules will help limit this.
She said Estonia may end up in a similar situation to the start of the year when the virus spread rapidly at the end of January and the start of February after the Christmas holidays. The measures need to remain in place to see if the situation will stabilize, Härma said.
The acting director general said the spread of coronavirus is not so strong in the north as most people now have some level of immunity, having either been vaccinated or recovered.
Each subsequent wave is likely to lead to higher infection rates, but perhaps less strain on hospitals, she said. This means the waves will get lighter with each passing year.
However, as long as a significant number of older people are unvaccinated, care must be taken to ensure that the burden on hospitals is equally shared.
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Editor: Helen Wright