Peterson: Covid-19 no longer new, dangerous infectious disease

Covid-19 hospital room.
Covid-19 hospital room. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

As the long-awaited Paxlovid drug is now available in Estonian pharmacies, Labor and Health Minister Peep Peterson said that while Estonia would continue to take precautions against the disease, Covid-19 is no longer a newly emerging and serious infectious disease that calls for extensive restrictive measures.

Since we already know about corona virus, it is no longer a novel and serious infectious disease, Peterson said; however, if a new potentially lethal strain of Covid-19 were to emerge, the Estonian Communicable Illness Prevention and Control Act would once again classify Covid-19 as a novel and dangerous infectious disease.

Peterson emphasized that an emergency is still possible in Estonia, and that Covid-19 is being actively monitored.

However, the current situation does not necessitate the imposition of extensive restrictions. "The arrival of Paxlovid in Estonian pharmacies also indicates that we are no longer dealing with a dangerous disease that requires significant restrictions," Peterson said.

If a new SARS-CoV-2 mutation emerges, this scenario will change.
"There is no guarantee that a new SARS-CoV-2 virus strain will not threaten Estonia in the future. We are certainly adaptable and willing to revert [to restrictions]," the minister said.

Covid-19 monitoring is currently the responsibility of both the Estonian health board and the scientific council. The former examines the current situation in Estonia, whereas the latter looks at the global situation. 

Estonia's safety level is currently in the "yellow" zone, the minister said. However, he emphasized, a few weeks ago, when there was a large number of patients with flu and Covid-19 symptoms in hospitals at the same time, public health specialists were highly concerned.

Peterson said that declaring the end of the covid epidemic is still premature. "The World Health Organization (WHO) has the authority to declare the pandemic over, but has yet to do so," he said.

The Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) reported that there were 1,169 new cases of Covid-19 last week. The overall number of reported cases decreased by 13 percent when compared to the previous week. The average age of the eight coronavirus patients who died last week was 78.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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