Homeless people with COVID-19 must stay in isolation at shelter

  • 2020-04-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Prime Minister Juri Ratas in his capacity as the head of the emergency situation in Estonia on Thursday signed an order extending the movement restrictions applied to people with a COVID-19 positive diagnosis and their close contacts also to infected persons who use the service of a shelter or a safe house. 

This means that a person with COVID-19 infection must not leave their place of stay from the moment the coronavirus has been diagnosed until recovery, except for in cases when directed to do so by a healthcare professional or the police, or in the event of an emergency endangering their life or health.

The restriction applies also to those people staying at a shelter or a safe house who have come into immediate contact with an infected person.

To the other people staying at a shelter or a safe house the same rights apply as to those who cohabit with a person with a diagnosis of the infection, but who have no symptoms of the virus and who are not in immediate contact with the infected person. 

The people staying at a shelter or a safe house must be ensured regular meals and other necessary assistance. To ensure security at a shelter or a safe house, it is necessary for the Police and Border Guard Board to check for compliance with the movement restriction.

Considering that the shelter and safe house service constitute emergency social assistance, the  admittance of clients returning to the service as well as of new clients must be ensured. The service provider must ensure the separation of new clients for 14 days using existing possibilities. 

At present the authorities know of two people infected with COVID-19 who have regularly stayed at homeless shelters in Tallinn.

There are 18 providers of the homeless shelter service in Estonia and the total number of places at the shelters run by them is 626. The biggest numbers of places are in Tallinn, 264, Tartu, 52, Narva, 61, and Parnu, 62.  

The regulation enters into force upon signature and the necessity of the restriction will be re-assessed every two weeks.