TALLINN - The Tartu city government, Health Board's region for South Estonia, South Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard, Rescue Center for South Estonia and University of Tartu Hospital on Monday sent a joint statement to the government seeking the introduction of additional measures for curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas said that while it is mainly Tartu that is currently at the epicenter of the situation, considering that people are actively moving around, supplementary measures should be introduced in all of Estonia, according to spokespeople for the Tartu city government.
"The situation that has transpired in Tartu raises concerns and it is our position that the current requirements and restrictions are no longer sufficient for containing it," Klaas said.
Signatories to the joint statement said that the dispersion requirement needs to be specified by an order by the government and the earlier 2+2 rule, which has now become a recommendation, should once more be made mandatory both in indoor and outdoor public spaces. The decision to make the 2+2 rule indicative has resulted in negative consequences in the day-to-day conduct of many people as they no longer deem the situation a threat.
The agencies and organizations in their joint statement also seek the reestablishment of earlier restrictions on nightclubs, hookah lounges and adult clubs as the situation has changed and the outbreak at Vabank nightclub in Tartu confirms that relaxing restrictions at said venues is not justified.
The third proposal seeks for a recommendation to be made that masks be used in public indoor spaces.
"Such measure or an even stricter one has been introduced or is about to be introduced in several Estonia's neighboring states," the statement to the government reads.
The signatories said that the problems pointed out in the statement are not specific to Tartu or Tartu County but are instead relevant in all of Estonia.
"To prevent the spread of the virus, it will not be enough just to implement one local government based restrictions as due to short distances the activities subject to restrictions would move to other local governments, which in turn may further expedite the spread of the virus. The only possible solution is that the general measures for curbing the spread of COVID-19 are uniform in the entire country," it is said in the statement.
Signatories to the statement include Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas; Tiia Luht, head of the Health Board's region for South Estonia; Vallo Koppel, head of the South Prefecture of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board; Margo Klaos, head of the Rescue Center for South Estonia, and Marek Seer, acting CEO of the University of Tartu Hospital.