Coronavirus testing strategy to prioritize risk groups from May 1

Coronavirus testing starts at Tallinn Airport.
Coronavirus testing starts at Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Risk groups and the over 60s will be prioritized in the Health Board's new PCR coronavirus testing strategy from May 1, the agency announced on Wednesday.

The need for testing has decreased and alternative solutions can be used to monitor infectious diseases, said Mari-Anne Härma, acting director general of the Health Board.

Surveillance sampling-based surveys will still be carried out, she said, highlighting the weekly wastewater study.

It will still be important to test the elderly and risk groups to protect the healthcare system, the official added. Non-risk groups will be able to able to access paid-for testing but it is not required.

The agency has prepared a new plan which lays out the changes to its testing policy. Another change is that the contract tracing app HOIA will be shut down in May.

"We thank those who launched this application — it was a great help. Today, people have greater personal responsibility and instead of waiting for information from the state, they must follow the usual practice of infectious diseases — if the symptoms of a viral disease occur, they must stay at home, see a doctor and open an incapacity sheet," said Härma.

The agency will stop announcing the number of new coronavirus cases from May 1 but the data can still be viewed on its website. Results of the wastewater study will be added to the page.

Härma said the focus will not be on longer-term trends.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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