Health minister: Rapid test option to depend on hospitalization level
Bringing back the option of rapid testing to go with coronavirus certificate checking will depend on the number of people requiring hospitalization for the coronavirus in the upcoming weeks, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Monday. He noted that allowing people entry to venues and events with a negative coronavirus test would help alleviate tensions in society.
"If we were to speak about reopening the option of testing, it needs to follow a decrease of hospitalizations, clear relief. Then the government can make a decision on alleviating tensions in society by taking another look at the coronavirus certificate rules," Kiik told ERR.
"The goal the government and every politician must be to maintain the mental and physical well-being of the entire Estonian population. We will have to assess, which so-called Covid rule package helps us achieve this goal."
Kiik said the government is not planning on any major coronavirus restriction amendments and the spread of the Omicron variant is monitored. "Discussions will certainly continue about the self-isolation obligations for vaccinated people if they come in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. That is where we have given a recommendation to self-isolated currently," the health minister said.
Kiik noted that people have had more contacts over the holiday period, which can bring forth a wave of infections. "And depending on if people are vaccinated or not, also a wave of hospitalizations."
He noted that the rate of hospitalizations over the last five weeks has been stable around 250 patients, but upcoming weeks will provide clarity on how increases in infection rates will affect those nubmers.
Kiik said the government cabinet will gather to discuss the coronavirus situation on Tuesday. "I would dare say that we will be much smarter by mid-January than we are today," the health minister said.
The government approved a coronavirus certificate regulation last June that would allow people to restaurants and other entertainment venues if they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, have recovered from the coronavirus or present proof of a recent negative rapid or PCR test. The government dropped the test option in October.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste