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.
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.

Restrictions in force
The meters of risk level

The main meters are the number on people infected with COVID-19 and the number of people hospitalised. The Government reviews the risk level once a week.

Instructions for how to behave at different risk levels

Who is a close contact?

A close contact is a person who has been in contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes at a distance less than two metres.

Examples of close contacts are:

  • a person living in the same household as a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (e.g. family members);
  • a person who has had a direct physical contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (for example, shaking hands);
  • a person who has been in direct contact with the secretions of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 without the use of protective equipment (e.g. the person diagnosed with COVID-19 coughed on them, a person who touched the napkin of the person diagnosed with COVID-19 with bare hands);
  • a person who has been in the same room (e.g. classroom, meeting room, hospital waiting room, work room, etc.) as a person diagnosed with COVID-19, where there is insufficient ventilation and/or personal protective equipment is not used and there is a risk of exposure to the virus.

You can find about being in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 from the person themselves, the Health Board, or through the HOIA application.

People who have contracted COVID-19 are infectious for about two days before and up to ten days after the onset of symptoms. Find out for how long a close contact has to self-isolate with the Isolation calculator of the Family Physicians Association of Estonia.

What to do as a close contact?

People who have been in close contact with an infected person must self-isolate at home, unless:

  • they have recovered from COVID-19 less than 180 days ago;
  • they have completed the course of vaccination against COVID-19, have reached maximum protection after the last dose of the vaccine, and no more than one year has passed since the last dose;
  • persons considered equal to a vaccinated person, i.e. people who have received a single dose of the vaccine after recovering from COVID-19, have reached maximum protection after the last dose of the vaccine, and no more than one year has passed since the last dose, or have contracted COVID-19 after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, have recovered from COVID-19, and no more than one year has elapsed since the SARS-CoV-2 test confirming the diagnosis or the date of confirmation of the diagnosis.

If you have not recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated and have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, you will have to self-isolate.

What does self-isolation mean?

A person who has to self-isolate may not go to work, school (except in the case of simplified quarantine), or public places or use public transport. They must stay at home. Instead of going to the grocery store or pharmacy in person, you should ask other people to help you or use online stores to order what you need. If you have food and essential goods delivered to your home, avoid direct contact with the courier. You can leave home only when absolutely necessary, for example if to go to the doctor or to buy basic goods and medicines if you cannot obtain them without leaving home.

Children and young people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have not recovered from it are subject to simplified quarantine if they came into close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 in a kindergarten or a childcare institutions, a general education school, or a vocational educational institution.

Guidelines for self-isolation

  • Discuss with your employer if you can work from home.
  • If you cannot work from home, ask your family doctor to issue a certificate for sick leave.
  • You cannot take your children to school or kindergarten during this period. If teleworking is not possible, ask your family doctor for a certificate for care leave.

You can leave your home or place of stay only if:

  • you have been instructed to do so by a health care professional or a police officer;
  • you are leaving home or a permanent place of stay at the invitation of a doctor to visit a medical institution;
  • you have to acquire essentials and it is not possible to do it in any other way; you are outdoors (in the forest, in the park), and you completely avoid contact with other people;
  • you are a health care professional or a person ensuring the continuity of another vital service who, by a decision of the employer or the Health Board, must perform urgent work tasks.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, disinfect both hands and surfaces if necessary, as the virus can spread from contaminated objects.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, and nose with your hands.
  • Open windows regularly (at least twice a day, at least 15 minutes at a time).
  • When coughing/sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm. Throw the tissue away immediately and then wash your hands.
  • Wear a mask if you are forced to stay in a public place when purchasing essentials.
  • Before leaving home, think carefully about whether someone can help you or if you can use virtual channels.
  • Wearing a mask prevents the virus from spreading to other people.
  • It is also recommended that minors who have come into close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 wear a mask to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Call your family doctor or the family doctor’s helpline 1220 as soon as possible.
  • Make sure to tell them if you have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Describe your medical condition to your family doctor and follow their instructions.
  • If your health deteriorates suddenly, call 112.
  • Do not go to the emergency department in a hospital or the waiting room of your family doctor!

Last updated: 10.11.2021