Minister: Negative test proof could be reapplied if Delta strain recedes

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center).
Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) told ERR that the risk of coronavirus spread is no longer too high and if the spread of the Delta strain was to deteriorate, the option of presenting proof of a negative test when entering public spaces could be reimplemented.

"It is still too early to make final decisions, the upcoming weeks are a time of discussions and data collection. But if we see that the Omicron strain wave does not bring along an increase to hospitalizations, then the government can consider bringing back the so-called negative test option as an alternative for entering public events," Kiik said.

He noted that vaccinations are still key in terms of hospitalizations and noted that coronavirus certificate rules will not be changed for the next two weeks, after which the government will begin discussing it.

The health minister said it can already be seen that infection rates will continue to trend upward, but the government's goal has been ensuring the healthcare system's sustainability since the autumn, which is why preventing infections is not as important of a focus point anymore.

"We can see with the Omicron strain that the hospital burden does not go along with infections as much. It has become clear that we cannot draw conclusions from infection figures alone," Kiik said.

Additionally, the minister pointed out that both the government and its scientific council are in agreement over having to reassess the current risk matrix. "We are currently in a schizophrenic situation, where we are on the 'yellow' or moderate level for one indicator (7-day hospitalization average - ed) and in the 'red' or very high for another (7-day infection average - ed)," Kiik said.

He noted that a person that has received a booster vaccine dose is more realistically on the "green" or low risk level, people vaccinated with two doses are on the "yellow" or moderate risk level and unvaccinated people are at the "red" or very high risk level.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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