The coronavirus certificate should not be abolished yet as it still helps to keep the workload of hospitals lower, and people who have a coronavirus certificate should no longer be restricted, Arkadi Popov, head of the West Tallinn Central Hospital (LTKH) told ETV's current affairs show "Esimene stuudio" Thursday evening.
At a time when so many more authoritative voices are calling for the use of the coronavirus certificate to be removed, one should rather think that maybe it will be used even more effectively, Popov said.
"We should discuss the need for the coronavirus certificate and whether it's time to give it up altogether. My point is that maybe we should start using them better. Rather, people who were conscientious and listened to by doctors, researchers and the state, they shouldn't be experiencing restrictions at all," Popov said.
Popov added that the coronavirus certificate effectively performed its function during the delta trunk, but still does. "But today they also play a role in protecting non-immune people from death and hospitalization. He doesn't come to a mass event - it also protects hospitals from overcrowding," he said.
Regarding the new possible restrictions, Popov stated that Estonia has now chosen its own way to deal with the coronavirus. "We need to understand which scenario has been chosen to move forward. The fact that we are going through and (will) get through the epidemic, that this hope is very tempting - omicron is not so dangerous, omicron causes less death, less intensive treatment," Popov went on.
Popov argued that the need for hospital treatment is still growing, and forecasts show that the number of Covid patients in need of hospital treatment may reach more than 600 next week.
"We can compare ourselves to Denmark, where the infection rate has been high for a month now and there is active testing. The infection rate is 2 to 2.5 times higher than in Estonia, but at the same time, the need for hospital treatment is milder. The reason is that in Denmark, more than 80 percent of the population has been vaccinated. They can afford it through collective immunity," Popov said.
Although the number of tests has decreased rapidly in Estonia and therefore hospitals have less information about the actual state of the spread of the virus in Estonia, Popov considered it appropriate to relax the testing requirements.
Popov said that it can be hoped that the new protein-based corona vaccine Nuvaxovid, which will arrive in Estonia at the end of February, will increase interest in vaccination again.
"I hope it's helpful because a new thing is always of interest. This Nuvaxovid can be an additional measure. Especially for those who for some reason don't want an mRNA vaccine or are poorly tolerated. Its (research-based) effectiveness is 90 percent, but we've experienced it before. For other vaccines, this percentage may not be the same in real clinical practice," Popov said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino