Government approves orders for new COVID-19 control measures

21.10.2021 | 13:10

Stenbock House, 21 October 2021 – The government has approved two orders setting out Tuesday’s decisions on stopping the spread of coronavirus.
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The first order approved by the government allows, from Monday, only those who have been fully vaccinated against or who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 to take part in controlled events and activities. Those who are unvaccinated will have their access to such activities and events restricted, since they both face and present a very high risk of infection: if an unvaccinated person contracts the virus, they are in danger of suffering a more acute case and ending up in hospital, and they are also more likely to spread the virus than those who have been immunised against it. Moreover, the pressure on hospitals is already at a critical level.

This change applies to sports, exercise, youth work, hobbies and hobby education and in-service and further training undertaken by adults. An exception will be made for in-service training and related exams whereby training which has already commenced and which is needed in order to obtain a certificate evidencing the earning of a qualification may be carried through to its conclusion. This exception is required because in certain cases such a certificate is needed in order for a person to be able to do their job.

People who are unvaccinated and have not contracted and recovered from the virus may no longer take part in sporting competitions or sports and exercise events; use public pools, spas, saunas or waterparks; attend conferences, plays, concerts or cinema screenings; make use of entertainment services; go to museums or exhibitions; or spend time on site at catering venues. Nor may they attend public meetings taking place indoors or in restricted outdoor areas.

In terms of work relations, the basis of requirements remains the risk assessment carried out by each individual employer.

The same order also reinforces the obligation to wear masks: on retail and service premises, the retailers and service providers in question must now monitor whether people are complying with the requirement to wear masks. Those not wearing masks will not be permitted to enter sales and service spaces. In order to stop the spread of the virus, it must also be ensured on such premises that people are sufficiently dispersed.

Furthermore, from now on people will also be required to wear actual protective masks: they can no longer cover their nose and mouth with a raised collar, scarf or anything else. The now dominant delta variant of coronavirus is significantly more infectious than the strains that spread at the start of the pandemic, and covering the nose and mouth with anything other than a protective mask will not help to prevent infection. People are strongly recommended to use medical (or equivalent) masks, since their use will be very effective in preventing the airborne spread of the delta variant. Those who are unable to wear a mask for legitimate medical reasons must be able to provide proof of this from their doctor.

With the spread of coronavirus once again becoming extensive, the use of protective masks is strongly recommended even for those who are fully vaccinated against the virus, those who have contracted and recovered from the virus and children from the age of 12 when attending controlled events such as plays, cinema screenings and concerts.

The new control measures will remain in place at least until 10 January 2022.

The second order approved by the government pertains to self-isolation and the testing procedure in schools and hobby education and is designed to more effectively break infection chains among students in such environments.

The updated procedure applies to all students in general and vocational education who are unvaccinated and have not contracted and recovered from COVID-19. It foresees that in the event of a close contact being detected in a school or hobby education facility, the individual informed of the contact must immediately isolate at home and take a PCR test no sooner than four days after coming into close contact with an infected person. The PCR test must be taken at a public testing facility. If the result is negative, the student may return to school and/or their hobby group(s). Involvement in other activities requiring a COVID certificate – such as attending cinema screenings, plays and concerts, visiting museums and spas and going to cafés – is not permitted for 10 days after coming into close contact with an infected person. If a student displays any symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately isolate at home.

This order will apply after the school holidays, coming into effect on 1 November.

The Government Communication Office publishes orders and explanatory notes online at kriis.ee.

Government Communication Office