During the previous two years of the pandemic, no strain has spread as quickly in Estonia as Omicron. So far, more than 1,500 cases have been confirmed by testing.
Over the Christmas period, the number of Omicron cases essentially doubled, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Sunday.
On December 23, there were 830 known cases of the variant but by December 26 the number had risen to 1,500.
Professor of Virology Irja Lutsar said, so far, no strain had spread as rapidly as this one. Initially, fewer people have been hospitalized than feared.
"In the United Kingdom, where there is a very, very high wave of infections, especially in and around London, the number of people admitted to hospital has not increased, the number of people in need of intensive care or ventilation has not increased," Lutsar said.
However, the Health Board told AK data from the U.K. or Denmark cannot be used to assess the situation in Estonia because the level of vaccination in both countries is much higher.
There are still an estimated 40,000 unvaccinated people in risk groups in Estonia.
"If it spreads two to five times faster, it could still create a situation where the need for hospital treatment rises quickly," the Health Board's Ragnar Vaiknemets said.
So far, the variant has mostly been diagnosed in younger people. The symptoms include a cough and runny nose, similar to a common cold.
How can the spread of coronavirus be stopped?
- Keep your distance in public places.
- Wear a mask in crowded places.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- If you develop symptoms stay at home and contact a family doctor.
- You can also get vaccinated against coronavirus.
Editor: Helen Wright