Estonian The government could impose new restrictions on education, culture and entertainment on Thursday to curb the alarming increase in the spread of the new coronavir on Thursday, including requiring senior students to switch to distance learning from March, Health Minister Tanel Kick said on Tuesday.
Content will continue after the ad
According to him, the new restrictions on the organization of the educational process would apply to high school students and students and would come into force after the end of the holidays, in early March. The government would identify possible restrictions at the national level, but local crisis councils would introduce even stricter requirements if necessary.
The Minister also acknowledged that vaccination has already helped to reduce the incidence in social care homes and hospitals, but not in society as a whole.
On 16 February, the 14-day cumulative number of infections per 100,000 population, calculated by the Estonian Department of Health, reached 637.63. Experts have expressed concern that without new, stricter restrictions, the number of cases detected in one day in the near future may exceed one thousand, which has so far been experienced in Estonia only one day in early January, and continue to grow.
In addition, according to Andress Merits, Professor of Applied Virology at the University of Tartu, the disease is now clearly affecting children and young people between the ages of 10 and 19 and is spreading throughout society.
“The spread of the virus by about 20-30% is related to the opening of schools,” the specialist told the Postimees newspaper.
Krista Fischer, Professor of Mathematical Statistics at the University of Tartu, shares this view. According to her, it is not possible to hope to normalize the situation with cosmetic adjustments, but the transition to distance learning in schools is a good idea.
According to Fischer, the infection rate is now over 1.15, meaning that one infected person further infects an average of 1.15 other people, and this skin continues to grow.
According to Irja Lutsare, a well-known virologist, the head of the Estonian government’s advisory scientific council, the virus continues to spread because people do not respect the existing restrictions. “No restrictions will be effective if people do not respect them,” she said after the council meeting.
Although people say that they are tired of restrictions, they are rather tired of waiting, because in reality there are not so many real restrictions in Estonia, the specialist said.
Lutsare pointed out that some restrictions must be strengthened, but first of all the existing ones must be observed – masks must be worn indoors, work from home should be done as much as possible, inviting guests, organizing parties and unnecessary walks in shops should be avoided.
“These rules are already known. If it were possible to control people in some way, it would be a big step forward,” the head of the scientific council emphasized. “We think communication needs to be improved [ar sabiedrību]”so that people do not have to be afraid of restrictions all the time, so that they think more about how to handle this situation better, how to keep in touch with friends or grandparents, how to work,” she explained.
On the Internet live show “Otse Postimehest” (“Directly from the Postimees”), Lutsare also said that the council recommended that the government envisage the transition of all class groups to distance learning, including the cessation of interest education classes, but said that the final decision would be made by the government on Thursday.