The results of a monitoring study conducted by the University of Tartu for presentation to the government committee confirm that the easing of restrictions is justified
The results of the third wave of a monitoring study conducted by the University of Tartu presented today to the government committee working to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease-causing coronavirus and addressing public health and economic problems confirm that the continued easing of restrictions in Estonia is justified.
The third wave of the monitoring study was conducted from 22 May to 31 May to assess whether the easing of restrictions on movement in shopping centres and other public institutions has had an impact on the spread of the virus.
In the course of the study, 3,329 adult Estonian residents were interviewed, 1,908 of whom were tested based on random selection. The testing identified a total of two persons infected with the coronavirus, of whom one had recovered by the time of the study and was no longer contagious. The main conclusion of the study is that there is no widespread infection in the society.
“The good work of the researchers of the University of Tartu in studying the prevalence of the virus gives the government confidence that the easing of restrictions on special conditions so far has been justified. The spread of the virus is under control in Estonia, and we will continue to ease restrictions to return to normal life, but we also prepare for a new possible outbreak of the virus,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
According to the researchers’ calculations, the weighted proportion of virus-positive persons among the adult population of Estonia is 0.05% (95% CI 0,00-0,28) and the weighted proportion of potentially infectious persons is 0.02% (95% CI 0,00-0,24) of the adult population.
“The end of the emergency situation and the easing of restrictions has not led to an increase in the spread of the coronavirus, which shows that the gradual and controlled easing of restrictions is justified,” said Ruth Kalda, professor at the University of Tartu.
“Although the prevalence of the coronavirus is currently low and it may seem that there is no direct need to study it, it is still important to monitor how the wider easing of restrictions and the opening of borders will affect the spread of the virus in Estonia. This information gives a better sense of security and confidence for taking the next steps,” added Kalda.
A total of 9,342 adult residents have been interviewed during the three waves of the study, of whom 6,865 have been tested based on random selection. The testing has revealed 14 cases of the coronavirus; eight of the infected persons had been diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to the study, of whom seven had already recovered from the virus. Thus, seven people were still potentially contagious during the study.
The average duration of the coronavirus symptoms according to the three waves of the study is 15.7 days. According to the survey, people changed their behaviour after being infected. The most common changes concerned keeping good hand hygiene more strictly, avoiding contact with the elderly, and wearing a mask.
The next, fourth wave of the study is scheduled to take place from 15 to 22 June.
More detailed information about the study on the prevalence of the coronavirus in Estonia can be found on the website of the University of Tartu: https://www.ut.ee/en/research/study-prevalence-coronavirus-estonia