PM: Estonia to remain under lockdown for entire summer unless virus spread stops

  • 2021-03-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The infection rate in Estonia is continuously on the rise and unless the spread of the virus is contained, the country will remain under lockdown for the entire summer, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said.

Kallas wrote on Facebook that according to data by the scientific council advising the government and the Health Board, the restrictions have begun to have a stabilizing effect on current exponential growth of the spread of the coronavirus; however, it is too early to predict the final impact of the restrictions and a small yet firm uptick remains in the infection rate.

"The number of infections has grown 7 percent compared with last week. Growth in infection figures is over 10 percent in the age group 55 to 85. We have no counties with the R number below 1; instead, the infection rate has turned to growth in many counties," Kallas wrote. "Some 75 to 80 people are on average hospitalized daily. Ten people die in Estonia on average each day because of the coronavirus."

Kallas wrote that the more optimistic prognosis made at the time when extensive restrictions were established predicting that the daily number of new infections will drop to below 500 by mid-April is slipping away.

"Unless the spread of the virus stops, Estonia will remain under lockdown for the entire summer -- just like our southerly neighbor Latvia has been under lockdown since November. Everything is on hold -- the economy, social interaction," the premier said.

"While the government can impose endless restrictions, it is the people who need to follow to them," she said, adding that she urges everyone to think through what they can do to prevent contracting and  transmitting the virus.

Kallas also urged party and political leaders to set aside their squabbles and concentrate on a unified battle against the coronavirus.

"Call on your supporters, too, to behave responsibly. It would be particularly helpful if the politicians who have the ear of the Russian-speaking community did so. It is time for unity and statesmanship," she said.