Coronavirus and preventing its spread

The symptoms of COVID-19 and their severity vary widely. There may be no symptoms at all, but it can also lead to severe pneumonia. After recovery, permanent damage to health can occur and in the worst cases, the disease can be fatal. COVID-19 is especially dangerous for those in risk groups. Vaccination, the use of personal protective equipment, adherence to hygiene rules, and keeping a safe distance from others help to prevent the spread of the virus.

Restrictions in force

In order to avoid the spread of the virus and getting infected, to protect the life and health of the people and to ensure the functioning of the society, it is necessary to follow the enacted restrictions and guidelines. The Government of the Republic in co-operation with the Scientific Advisory Board does a weekly assessment of the virus risk in the country and enacts or eases the measures according to the risk level.

All restrictions »

The requirement to disperse has to be taken into account in public indoor spaces. This means that, if possible, at least a two meter distance has to be kept from strangers.

In public indoor spaces it is obligatory to disinfect hands.

A mask must be worn by all persons 12 years of age and older in all indoor spaces meant for public use, including in rooms where the COVID certificate is checked (including entertainment establishments, events, cinemas, theatres, spas).

A mask must be worn in all activities where it is possible due to the nature of the work or activity.

A mask cannot be replaced by covering the nose and the mouth with a scarf, a collar, a visor or anything else. It is highly recommended to wear a medical mask or a mask considered equal to that (e.g. an FFP1-3 mask or a N95 respirator), which is effective in stopping the delta strain of the coronavirus from spreading.

A mask must, for instance, be worn in the store, in the pharmacy, in the service spaces of institutions and enterprises, at the post office, in the library, in public transport, at entertainment establishments, events, cinemas, theatres, spas – in all public indoor spaces where the nature of the activity allows it in the slightest.

If wearing a mask is contraindicated to a person due to health reasons, the person needs to prove it with a corresponding medical certificate.

In commercial and service establishments, the persons responsible for the operations, the service providers and traders on whose sales or service area the person is have to monitor that the obligation to wear a mask is adhered to. The service provider or trader has the right to not allow entry to their sales or service area to a person who refuses to wear a mask.

All persons 18 years of age and older must present a COVID certificate proving vaccination or recovery in order to participate in activities taking place in checked public spaces. A COVID certificate is valid with an identification document.

If vaccination is contraindicated to a person for health reasons, a corresponding medical certificate has to be presented in order to participate.

A COVID certificate has to be presented to participate in sports, training, youth work, hobby activities and informal education, refresher training; at sports competitions, and sports and exercise events; in saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools; at public meetings and events, including at the theatre, at the cinema, at a concert (including a church concert), at a conference; at museums and exhibition facilities; at entertainment services; at catering establishments in order to eat and drink on the premises.

The organisers have an obligation to check the validity of the COVID certificates with an identification document of the presenter of the certificate.

A COVID certificate is not checked at outdoor events taking place on an unrestricted territory.

In employment relationships, the requirements regarding going to work, including the obligation to present a certificate, are based on the employer’s risk analysis.

Starting from November 1, 2021 it is also required that young people 12-17 years of age present a certificate proving vaccination or recovery or a certificate proving a negative result of a PCR or antigen RT test done by a health care service provider. The PCR test must be done no more than 72 hours and the antigen-RT test no more than 48 hours before participating in an event or activity. In addition to a test done by a health care service provider, the result of a rapid test done at a general pharmacy is also valid.

Starting from November 15, 2021: Young people from the age of 12 years and three months up to 17 years (included) have to present a certificate in order to participate in the activities.

12-18 year olds and schoolchildren and youths turning 19 during the 2021/2022 academic year do not have to present a COVID certificate to participate in informal education and hobby activities, youth work, refresher training or sports and training where the same rules regarding testing, being a close contact and self-isolation apply as do in general education and vocational schools.

People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 are not allowed to leave their place of residence from the moment they have been diagnosed until they are declared healthy. This also applies to the residents of shelters and safe houses who have to remain in quarantine there.

Those who live with a person who has COVID-19 or who have come in contact with him have to stay in self-isolation for ten days.

It is only allowed to leave home for procuring what is necessary for everyday survival, if it is not possible to do it in any other way, and for being outdoors, if all measures to stop the possible spread of the disease are taken and the instructions of the Health Board are followed.

Self-isolation is not obligatory for close contacts who have

  • been completely vaccinated against COVID-19 and no more than a year has passed since the last dose of the vaccine
  • recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months and been declared healthy by a doctor
  • considered equal to vaccinated, i.e. received one dose of the vaccine after recovery from COVID-19, achieved maximum protection after the last dose of the vaccine and no more than one year has passed since the last dose, or been infected with COVID-19 after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, have recovered from COVID-19 and no more than one year has passed since doing the SARS-CoV-2 test confirming the diagnosis or the date when the diagnosis was confirmed.

Staying in self-isolation is also recommended for people who are vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 but are living with a person who has been infected. In that case a person should stay home for at least five days and do distance work if possible. If it is not possible to work from home, a family doctor will issue a certificate for sick leave and the person will receive health insurance benefits.

If the close contact with the coronavirus carrier took place in a kindergarten of child care, a general education or vocational school, the children and youths who have not been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19 have to remain in simplified quarantine.

Nature and spread of the coronavirus

The virus is transmitted mainly through droplets while coming into close contact with an infectious person. When an infected person coughs, talks, or sneezes, the virus particles are released into the air and bystanders can inhale them. The best way to avoid the virus is to get vaccinated and stay at home with any symptoms.

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Prevention of the coronavirus

Vaccination is the best protection as it protects against severe consequences of the illness and significantly reduces the risk of infection. It is also important to wash your hands often, avoid touching your nose and mouth, and remind your children to do the same. Keep your distance and wear a mask in public places.

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What should I do if I have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect being infected?

If you have not recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated against it and you learn that you have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, stay home immediately and monitor your health! If you develop any symptoms, tell your family doctor immediately or call the family doctor’s helpline by dialling 1220. If your health deteriorates suddenly, call 112 and be sure to report any previous contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

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What to do if I become sick?

If you are sick, you have to stay home until you recover! Discuss your treatment with your family doctor and call 112 in case of acute symptoms. Do not go to the emergency department in a hospital or the waiting room of your family doctor. Instead, ask for treatment recommendations and instructions by phone. Contact your close contacts and inform them about your illness. In addition, report your illness to the HOIA application. The Health Board will contact you as soon as possible and ask you some questions about your illness.

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Personal protection, masks, and surroundings

To avoid contracting the coronavirus, it is important to wash your hands with soap and warm water, wear a mask in a way that provides maximum protection against the virus, change the mask regularly, and wash homemade masks after each use in 60-degree water. Public areas must be regularly ventilated and surfaces disinfected.

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Mental health during the emergency situation

It is natural to be sad, confused, frightened and stressed during the crisis. You can help yourself by keeping regular contact with friends and relatives and getting a professional help from a mental help specialist if needed. If you have to stay home, take care of your physical and mental health: eat healthy, get enough sleep, exercise. Try to focus on the things that you can control. The recommendations you'll find below were compiled by an expert group of the Estonian Mental Health and Well-Being Coalition VATEK.

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Information given by the authorities

The Health Board 
Information about the coronavirus, its prevention, treatment and spread, instructions and information materials for the infected, close contacts, organisations and enterprises.

The State Agency of Medicines 
Information on the COVID-19 vaccines and other medicines, as well as medicines trials.

Work Life Portal
Information and instructions on the organisation of work life and employment relationships during the crisis situation.

The Agriculture and Food Board
Information and instructions for food business operators and animal keepers on how to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Last updated: 10.11.2021