Scientist: Mask rule may be scrapped when Estonia reaches 'yellow level'

A Health Board sign encouraging people to wear masks in a Tallinn shopping mall.
A Health Board sign encouraging people to wear masks in a Tallinn shopping mall. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Rules in place which make wearing a mask mandatory to stop the spread of coronavirus may be scrapped in the future if the infection rate continues to fall, chairman of the government's scientific advisory council Toivo Maimets has said.

"If today we are in the red zone of the risk matrix, we would like to get yellow. We would like to see a steady decline. We are monitoring this trend and looking for balance," Maimets told ERR.

Currently, the requirement means everyone must wear masks in public spaces, such as shopping malls, stores and on public transport. The government has not yet asked for data on the situation.

"We are very actively monitoring the situation. We will discuss this with the Health Board, the Ministry of Social Affairs and present our views to the government at the moment they ask," the scientist said.

Maimets said while new infections and hospitalizations for coronavirus are declining said these figures are "still pretty high". The 14-day average is over 2,000 per 100,000 people.

The professor said the council is also discussing a new vaccination plan and how to proceed in the future.

"Most European countries are working on what will happen in the autumn. It is quite clear that this virus will not leave us and, in some context, it will come back in the autumn," he said.

Estonia's 63.3 percent vaccination rate is lower than officials expected.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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