Estonian court dismisses first appeal against coronavirus restrictions

A social distancing sign in Tallinn.
A social distancing sign in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Tallinn Administrative Court has dismissed an appeal that contests the coronavirus restrictions against unvaccinated people. Forty similar cases have been lodged so far.

The court found that, given the scale of the epidemic, coronavirus restrictions are necessary and legitimate.

As the applicant has decided not to vaccinate despite having no medical contraindication, they have to endure the restrictions going with said decision.

In the court's opinion, this is not discrimination, as due to their higher potential for getting infected, unvaccinated people must be treated differently from vaccinated people.

The court also found that the restrictions are not unduly harsh, and that the government has struck a reasonable balance between keeping society open and limiting the spread of the virus by giving preferential treatment to those who have been vaccinated.

"The court's message to society is simple and clear, and in line with what the scientific advisory board has been saying for a long time -- the only way forward is to increase vaccination in society," said attorneys Ants Nomper and Kairi Kilgi, who represented the government in court.

The court also analyzed the applicant's claims to the effect that vaccines are dangerous, finding that there is no basis for this argument. Nor did the court find any reason to grant an exception to the applicant on the basis of the applicant's relatively young age and the scientific evidence presented by the applicant.

The person who went to court had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, although there was no contraindication to vaccination, and they had not had COVID-19. Therefore, the person was subject to the obligation of self-isolation upon arrival in Estonia from abroad, as well as subject to the restrictions on leisure activities valid for those not able to present a COVID certificate.

The applicant considered such restrictions to be a violation of their human rights and and act of  discrimination. The court dismissed the action in its entirety.

The court's decision has not entered into force and may be challenged within 30 days in the appellate court.

More court decisions in disputes related to coronavirus restrictions are expected in January, with more than 40 such cases pending before courts in Estonia.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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