Prime Minister Kallas: Government introduces unavoidable measures for limiting the prevalence of the coronavirus and to protect the medical system from being overloaded

23.02.2021 | 14:08

Stenbock House, 22 February 2021 - According to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, the government is implementing unavoidable measures necessary to limit the high prevalence of coronavirus, the main purpose of which is to protect the medical system from being overloaded. According to Kallas, the objective of the government is to be increasing the number of people vaccinated every day.
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In a political statement before the Riigikogu today, the Prime Minister said that the situation regarding the prevalence of the coronavirus is very serious, the intensity of getting infected remains very high and the prevalence of the virus is extensive. ‘Stress and fatigue in the society are increasing due to the limited way of life,’ she acknowledged.

In her speech, the Prime minister highlighted that according to the coronavirus detectives of the Health Board, the virus mainly spread by way of family contact last month with 32% cases happening this way, 14% of the cases are due to contact at work and an alarming 33% of people did not know where they got infected. ‘This indicates that there is an epidemic spread of the virus in Estonia and that the virus can be obtained from anywhere where people are not keeping distance from each other, such as shopping malls, public transport, etc.,’ Kallas noted.

‘Despite the selfless work of the medical staff, the medical system must continue to be protected from being overburdened. We are also working to ensure that residents of welfare institutions would be able to spend their old age safely. I believe that the people working in welfare institutions have taken this to heart,’ said the Prime Minister.

Kallas explained that the government had consciously avoided taking very strict and extensive restrictions, i.e. the path chosen by the neighbouring countries. ‘We are implementing restrictions that are unavoidable and aimed at reducing human interaction in places where the risk of infection and spread of the virus is the greatest. We have taken an issue-based approach, intervening where there are epicentres of the virus and dealing with the causes for this. We are trying to avoid making the mistakes of the previous school holidays - we try to avoid the movement of people and contacts between different regions.’ said Kallas.

‘When setting the restrictions, we have assessed the impact of each restriction on both the economy and the people, because in addition to the visible victims, among us are also the victims we cannot see. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, unemployment in Estonia has risen to 8,8%, in Ida-Virumaa even to 14.6%,’ the Prime Minister pointed out, and added: ‘We do not yet know how big the gaps in children’s education are. This is exactly the reason why middle school exams are compulsory this year, being, however, not related to graduating from school. Mental health problems are more difficult to measure, though we are all feeling the crisis fatigue.’

Kallas confirmed that the government is continuing its efforts to make decisions on scientific bases, assessing their effects to keep our country open and the virus infection stable in Estonia.

Prime Minister stated in her speech that vaccination is a matter of concern. ‘I have to admit that there have been more problems with vaccination than we would like. It is one thing that there is a general vaccine deficit in Europe, but we could have certainly thought things better through, could have started the planning for vaccination earlier,’ said Kallas.

‘I have instructed the Minister for Health and Labour that we need to increase the number of people vaccinated every day. To do this, we must make use of every day, including the weekend, to provide protective injections to groups at risk: teachers, police, and everyone else. The pace of vaccination has increased in the recent days, with a record of 20,332 people having been vaccinated last week. To date, more people have received vaccine injections than have been infected with the virus in total,’ said Kallas. The Prime Minister confirmed that from May, when the wider vaccination of the population starts, temporary vaccination centres will be created to speed up the vaccination.

‘In addition to the above, it is very important for each of us to take responsibility. I urge each and every one to take the opportunity to be vaccinated if your doctor calls you. It is very disheartening to hear that general practice nurses have to overcome enormous obstacles in persuading those invited. The more people we are able to vaccinate, the greater the society’s ability to defend itself against COVID-19. Every injection matters!’ said Prime Minister Kallas.

The full text of the speech:

Valitsuse kommunikatsioonibüroo