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Government to discuss dropping mask mandate next week

Kristian Jaani, Liina Kersna, Kaja Kallas and Jaak Aab at Tuesday's government press conference in Narva. March 22, 2022.
Kristian Jaani, Liina Kersna, Kaja Kallas and Jaak Aab at Tuesday's government press conference in Narva. March 22, 2022. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

As both the number of COVID-19 cases and the number of people with COVID requiring hospitalization are on the decline, the government plans to discuss next week whether to replace mask mandates in public spaces with the recommendation to wear a mask, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Tuesday.

"We have submitted a request to the Scientific Advisory Board about masks, asking based on which criteria the next step can be taken, and I hope that we'll be able to discuss this next Tuesday," Kallas said at Tuesday's government press conference in Narva.

Kiik likewise confirmed that COVID-related topics are on the agenda for next week's cabinet meeting, among them the possibility of repealing the current mask mandate.

"Replacing this with a recommendation is a matter of the near term, as we're seeing virus numbers as well as the burden on hospitals decrease, and since we'll be discussing COVID-related topics in the government cabinet next week, we'll also definitely discuss what kind of step we can move forward with," he said.

According to the health minister, the dropping of the public mask mandate is a matter of not months, but weeks.

Scientific Advisory Board chairman Toivo Maimets told ERR on Monday that repealing the mask mandate should be up for discussion once the risk matrix mapping the risk level for the spread of COVID drops from red to yellow.

"Right now we have downgraded from red to orange, and it can be seen that there is a downward trend across the field," Kiik said on Tuesday. "Next week we can look at what the state of the spread of the virus is and what the forecasts are and provide clearer messages regarding when the mask mandate might be replaced with a recommendation."

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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