Estonian Health Board recommending that intl events be postponed until 2nd half of 2020

  • 2020-03-11
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Estonian Health Board is advising organizers of international events to postpone upcoming events until the second half of the year due to the global spread of the novel coronavirus.

In its decision, the Health Board is guided by the epidemiological situation in the world, in the European Union and also in Estonia, the authority said. Health Board adviser Karena Leiger said that the spread of the virus in European countries indicates that international events may encourage the local spread of the virus.

"This includes, in particular, events where participants from countries at risk are expected to attend," Leiger said, adding that the elderly and the chronically ill, who make up the risk group, should definitely avoid public and major events during the infectious disease season. "Under no circumstances should people exhibiting symptoms attend public events," she added.

According to the Health Board's guidelines for organizing public events, organizers of local events should ensure both the presence of medical staff as well as the existence of personal protective equipment, like a mask, protective gloves and disinfectants, for the service staff. In addition, if necessary, the body temperature of persons suspected to be infected must be measured and there must be a place for the temporary isolation and examination of the affected person until they are taken to the hospital or sent home.

The organizer must also provide participants with quick and convenient access to hand disinfectant facilities in visible areas such as lobbies, corridors, competition areas, changing rooms, toilets and other facilities. When arranging accommodation, participants from the same region should, where possible, be accommodated in the same complex or on the same floor to facilitate isolation when needed. On a daily basis, the event organizer must ensure wet cleaning of public areas and, where necessary, disinfect door handles, handles and dining tables. Toilets must always be equipped with hand washing soap and a waste bin that can be opened by foot, while paper towels must be used to dry hands. The handle of the water tap should be disinfected regularly.

According to the Health Board, the virus risk areas include China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. The risk of infection is high for people in countries with widespread local spread.

People who suspect that they are infected should consult with their family doctor or make a call to the family doctor hotline 1220. In case of more serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, a call should be made to the emergency number 112. People should definitely not go to the emergency room of a hospital for help, as this may cause the person to spread the virus to other people in the room.

Coronavirus should be suspected if the person has been in a risk area within the past 14 days, has been exposed to the coronavirus, and has symptoms characteristic of the disease, such as cough, fever and/or breathing difficulties. Otherwise, it may be the flu or a flu-like virus that is widespread in Estonia.