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Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announces additional curbs, Source: Jürgen Randma/Office of the Government of the Republic of Estonia

Estonia reinforces pandemic restrictions

Estonia reinforces pandemic restrictions

Entertainment venues must close by 11 pm and schoolchildren aged 12 and over will be able to attend public events only with a Covid certificate

The Estonian government approved last Thursday additional restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They will come on top of the Covid certificate requirement and the general mask mandate in public indoor areas which have already come into effect.

Covid certificate for all aged over 12, paired with ID

From Monday, 1 November, 12- to 17-year-olds must also submit a Covid certificate to gain access to controlled events (those where coronavirus checks are conducted), with the exception that, unlike adults, they can enter with just a proof of a negative test result.

The Covid certificate will only be valid together with the identity document. Therefore, staff performing certification checks will be required to verify the presented Covid certificate against the individuals' IDs to prevent fraud.

No public activities between 11 pm and 6 am

From 1 November, public events and activities must end at 11 pm. The earlier closing time for entertainment events comes in response to the greater risk of transmission following alcohol consumption, the government has explained. These operating time restrictions will mostly affect nightclubs, bars and other entertainment and leisure establishments.

Movement in indoor public premises, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and exhibition halls will also be restricted between 11 pm and 6 am, meaning they will be closed. 

The government has also issued guidelines to prevent the organization of major events relating to the public sector which are not absolutely necessary, until January 10.

Squabble over in-class learning

Schools return from the half-term break on Monday. The national policy outlined by education minister Liina Kersna envisages sticking with in-class learning with bi-weekly rapid antigen tests for unvaccinated teachers and students over 12.

However, Tallinn, Pärnu and Narva municipal governments have decided to switch to remote learning from 1 November, reports public broadcaster ERR.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart is adamant in his decision to send grades 4-8 at municipal schools on to distance learning at home for one week, starting Monday, while higher, and lower, grades will continue in-class education. Kõlvart reasons that Covid rates in Estonia remain high, while schools are a prime Covid hotspot from where infections are spreading into households.

Covid-19 situation

Estonia reported 1,894 new Covid cases and 14 deaths on Saturday morning. 542 people are in hospital with the coronvirus, up from 536 the previous day, according to the Health Board. A senior Health Board doctor told ERR that around a third of the Covid patients were individuals who had contracted the virus while being treated in hospital for other issues.

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