TALLINN – Juri Ratas, speaker of the Riigikogu and the chairman of the Center Party, wrote in a social media post that he would like to see Estonia follow the example of the Nordic countries, which have moderate infection rates now compared to the spring and, thanks to high vaccination coverage, can enjoy the benefits of an open society.
"Our situation is complicated, we are on the verge of disaster," Ratas said. "In order for day-to-day life in Estonia to function now, we need the efforts of every person, and we must take each other into account."
The speaker of the parliament said that in recent days, we've been getting difficult messages from hospitals in Estonia that scheduled treatment has been largely closed in several places and that medical staff have been exhausted. Every day, someone loses their mother or father, grandfather or grandmother, sister or brother, son or daughter.
Ratas said that deaths due to COVID can only be combated through vaccination of the population, as can continued contact learning be ensured in schools.
"I recently met with my counterpart from the Kingdom of Denmark, with whom we also discussed the coronavirus situation. At present, there are several times fewer COVID-19 patients in hospital there than in the spring. In Denmark, as well as in the other Nordic countries, 80-90 percent of adults are vaccinated with two doses, which allows people to live in an open society. I wish that Estonia could be like them. Healthy. Open. Optimistic," Ratas wrote.
"Fates are different, choices are different, but we are united by one thing -- we all want to get out of this situation," Ratas wrote. "I believe that the unity of the people of Estonia is stronger than the virus. No matter what language one speaks at home, whether one is vaccinated or not yet, no matter where in Estonia one lives."
Noting that Estonia is in a special situation and, unfortunately, the situation has deteriorated rapidly, Ratas said that we all have to bear sacrifices primarily at the expense of our own comforts.
"All this in order not to bear the greatest sacrifices in human lives. Because life under an oxygen mask or controlled breathing is worse than any restrictions," he said.
Ratas said that for this we need everyone's effort, we need to use personal protective equipment consistently and minimize contact with others.
"In case of feeling unwell, be sure to stay at home and contact your doctor. During this school holidays, it is good not to take children to unvaccinated grandparents. It is worth doing as much teleworking as possible," he said. "The right thing to do is to consult a health professional soon and, if possible, definitely get vaccinated."