The first person has died of the novel coronavirus in Estonia: an 83-year-old woman from Hiiumaa island who was hospitalised at the West Tallinn Central Hospital on 20 March; the patient had a prior chronic cardiovascular problem.
The Estonian Health Board confirmed the death this afternoon.
“Our deepest condolences to all of her loved ones. It is an emotionally very difficult moment and an extremely sad day. This shows we need to continue fighting the virus,” Arkadi Popov, the medical director of the emergency department at the Health Board, said in a statement.
“We have to be prepared that as a result of this virus, more people could die in Estonia, which is why avoiding close contact with the elderly and chronically ill is extremely important. We care for our elderly and people with weak immune systems – staying away from people is especially critical for them,” he added.
As of today, there are 404 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Estonia, according to the country’s Health Board; 28 people have been hospitalised, seven are in intensive care and five are in a critical condition. Eight coronavirus patients have been released from the hospitals. The Estonian government declared an emergency situation on 12 March and closed its borders on 17 March.
President Kaljulaid: It is time to stay together, it is also time to stay away
The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, issued a statement minutes after the news of the first coronavirus death in Estonia broke.
“Today is the sad day when the first person infected with a coronavirus died in Estonia. We were afraid the day would come, although we still hoped it wouldn’t. Of course, it came. My condolences to the relatives of the deceased,” Kaljulaid said. “The rest of us will carry on. We will carry on together, because the only way we can beat this virus is by supporting each other. How this pandemic will end for Estonia depends on every person in Estonia – literally, not figuratively. The role and the impact of the decisions each one of us makes is very clear and direct in beating the coronavirus.”
“Dear Estonian people, it is time to stay together. Unfortunately, it is also time to stay away. Let’s make it not a time of loneliness, but also a time of communication and caring. That’s how we can overcome it,” the president said.
For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.
Cover: Intensive care units at a hospital (Unsplash).