President Kersti Kaljulaid: It’s a time for caring

Following the news that the coronavirus has claimed its first victim in Estonia, the country’s president issued a statement; Estonian World publishes it in full, in a lightly edited version.

Dear people of Estonia!

Today is a sad day, the first person infected with the coronavirus died in Estonia. We feared it would happen, but still secretly hoped that it wouldn’t. Of course, it happened. I offer my condolences to the family of the deceased.

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.

The experience of different countries shows that keeping our distance from others helps. Nothing else helps. A democratic state cannot be held responsible for the social distancing of its citizens. Therefore, the measures used by Estonia and other Western countries are not comparable to the measures taken in China. We are responsible. Each one of us. As always, the state is sharing the responsibility with us today as well. The state sets the rules of social life in a democratic manner and our role is to abide by them. We must abide by them. And maybe do a little more than we’ve been asked.

We’re all worried about the future in a manner that most Estonians have never experienced in their lives. Let’s support each other. The best thing is to keep thinking what you could to protect your family, your elderly relatives, the community. It’s great to see Estonian people keeping their distance from each other when walking in the forest and giving way to each other on small intersecting paths – and smiling at each other! Because we’re together.

Unfortunately, we’re still in the initial stages of the epidemic. It depends on all of us whether we have enough hospital beds and people who can care for the sick when we hit the peak. Let’s pull together to ensure that this peak is as far and flat as possible, so that the patients who’ll be hospitalised next week can receive equally good treatment.

Dear people of Estonia – it’s time to stick together. Unfortunately, it’s also the time when we must stay away from each other. Let’s make sure this is not a time of loneliness, but a time of communication and caring. This way, we will beat it.

My sincere condolences.

For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

Cover: Kersti Kaljulaid at her office on 22 March 2020 (President’s Office).

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