TALLINN – As of Sunday morning, altogether 135 people in Estonia have tested positive for coronavirus, which is 20 more than on Saturday.
Of the positive samples, 62 were taken in Harju County, 37 in Saare County, 13 in Parnu County, nine in Voru County, six in Tartu County and eight in Viru region. Since Jan. 31, altogether 971 COVID-19 tests have been carried out in Estonia.
Considering the increasing spread of the virus, it is no longer expedient to test patients with milder symptoms and in order to save healthcare service resources and ensure vital services, the focus has been placed on risk groups, medical staff and other persons providing vital services, the Health Board said.
In order to cope with the pandemic, the Health Board has raised the preparedness level of the healthcare system to 2. Hospitals have been instructed to limit the amount of scheduled work from March 16, be prepared for a potential increase in the numbers of emergency patients and, if necessary, to adapt their bed places for the treatment of virus patients. Level 2 preparedness in healthcare also enables to set temporary restrictions on the availability of healthcare and to temporarily impose requirements different from usual for the provision of healthcare.
Due to the pandemic spread of the coronavirus and likely expansion of the spread of the virus within Estonia, the government on Thursday night declared an emergency situation in the country. Starting on Monday, March 16, usual study activities in education institutions will be suspended and activities switched to distance and home learning format. All public gatherings will be prohibited and museums and cinemas closed until May 1. Performances, concerts and conferences will be banned, just like sports competitions. At border crossing points health checks will be introduced to detect coronavirus illness symptoms in people. The sale of cruise trips on the Tallinn-Stockholm-Tallinn route has been stopped. Libraries will remain open to a limited extent.
The government announced on Saturday evening that traveling to Estonia's western islands of Hiiumaa, Saaremaa, Muhumaa, Vormsi, Kihnu and Ruhnu is only permitted to people permanently residing on the said islands, all others will be prohibited from entering. All people currently staying in these territories will be able to return home. The restrictions do not apply to freight or vital service provision.
By the government crisis committee's order, all sports clubs, halls, gyms, saunas, spas, pools, water parks, day centers and indoor playgrounds for children will be closed everywhere in Estonia, including in hotels and accommodation establishments.