Study: the easing of the coronavirus restrictions in Estonia is justified

According to the results of the third wave of a monitoring study, conducted by the University of Tartu, the easing of the coronavirus restrictions in Estonia is justified.

The third wave of the monitoring study was conducted from 22-31 May to assess whether the easing of the restrictions on movement in shopping centres and other public institutions has had an impact on the spread of the virus, the Estonian government said in a statement.

“In the course of the study, 3,329 adult Estonian residents were interviewed, 1,908 of whom were tested based on random selection,” the government said. “The testing identified a total of two people infected with the coronavirus, of whom one had recovered by the time of the study and was no longer contagious. The main conclusion of the study is that there is no widespread infection in the society.”

It’s important to continue monitoring the situation

According to the researchers’ calculations, the weighted proportion of virus-positive people among the adult population of Estonia is 0.05% (confidence limits of 95%) and the weighted proportion of potentially infectious persons is 0.02% (confidence limits of 95%) of the adult population.

“The end of the emergency situation and the easing of restrictions has not led to an increase in the spread of the coronavirus, which shows that the gradual and controlled easing of restrictions is justified,” Ruth Kalda, a professor at the University of Tartu, said.

“Although the prevalence of the coronavirus is currently low and it may seem that there is no direct need to study it, it is still important to monitor how the wider easing of restrictions and the opening of borders will affect the spread of the virus in Estonia. This information gives a better sense of security and confidence for taking the next steps,” she added.

A sign by the entrance of the Baltic Station Market in Tallinn reminds people to keep a distance. In reality, however, most people do not follow this rule. Photo by Silver Tambur.

The average duration of the illness is 15.7 days

A total of 9,342 adult residents have been interviewed during the three waves of the study, of whom 6,865 have been tested based on random selection. The testing has revealed 14 cases of the coronavirus; eight of the infected people had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus prior to the study, of whom seven had already recovered from the virus. Thus, seven people were still potentially contagious during the study.

The average duration of the coronavirus symptoms according to the three waves of the study is 15.7 days. According to the survey, people changed their behaviour after being infected. The most common changes concerned keeping good hand hygiene more strictly, avoiding contact with the elderly, and wearing a mask.

The next, fourth wave of the study is scheduled to take place from 15-22 June.

In the meantime, no new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in Estonia on 1 June – the first time since the start of March when no new cases were reported in a 24-hour period.

Cover: People enjoying the sun in Tallinn’s Telliskivi Creative City. Photo by Silver Tambur.

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