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Information about Coronavirus disease COVID-19

The Health Board cooperates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), international partners and governments to monitor the spread of the virus and to ensure Estonia's preparedness to protect human health and prevent the spread of infection.

The outbreak of novel coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan, China, on December 31st, 2019.

As the coronavirus causing COVID-19 is genetically similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus), it will be referred to hereinafter using its official term SARS-CoV-2.


Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Estonia »



  • The government has declared an emergency situation until May 1. You can find the information on the measures implemented from the Government’s offical web page »
  • In total, 12 401 coronavirus tests have been performed in Estonia, of which 745 (6%) have shown positive results.
  • Results of the analyses show that the highest numbers of infected persons were found in the 45-49 (11%) and 50-54 (11%) age groups, followed by 35-39 (10%) and 55-59 (10%) age groups.
    • As of last evening, 91 patients require hospitalisation in Estonia due to the novel coronavirus, of whom 13 are in intensive care and in critical condition. 26 patients have recovered from the disease. 4 people have died.
    • Most patients with coronavirus have mild symptoms.
  • Today, the ability to perform COVID-19 tests in Estonia is in the laboratories of the Health Board, Tartu University Hospital, Synlab, North-Estonia Regional Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital and Pärnu Hospital. 
  • Coronavirus risk groups include persons with chronic illnesses and elderly people. To protect the risk groups, the Health Board recommendations are as follows:
    • It is strictly forbidden to visit care homes, because it endangers the health of the residents.
    • Avoiding contact between people is of utmost importance, because otherwise it is not possible to contain the spread of the virus.
    • Additionally, in the coming weeks, moving residents from one care home to another should be avoided, as well as taking in new residents. Elderly persons in need of care should turn to their local government to receive home care services.
  • Due to the emergency situation in Estonia, the prohibition to visit applies to all social welfare institutions, hospitals and prisons until the preliminary date of 1 May 2020, unless otherwise decided by the government
    • To contain the further spread of the COVID-19 infection, the Health Board ordered the cessation of all regular, planned health care outside of the national network of hospitals.
    • Private medical establishments and dental clinics will only provide emergency care.
    • Regular treatments are stopped to contain the spread of the virus and in the interest of using personal protective equipment more economically. Regular treatments that have already been started will be reassessed by the doctor and patient, on a case-by-case basis. All regular treatments, whose cessation would endanger a patient’s health, will definitely have to be carried out to their completion.
  • If the symptoms occur, call your family doctor or the family doctor’s helpline 1220 for further instructions and advice.
  • The Emergency Response Center's Hotline 1247 was launched to help answer key questions about the coronavirus COVID-19. The phone operates 24/7 and is free of charge. 
  • In the event of severe breathing difficulties or shortness of breath, call 112.


  • Wash hands frequently
    Wash hands with warm water and soap and in public places use alcohol-based hand disinfectant.
  • Follow respiratory hygiene
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue immediately after use and then clean your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (part of your forearm) and not your bare hand to cover your mouth.
  • Avoid contact
    Avoid contact (keeping a distance of at least 2 m) with people with external symptoms of illness, such as cough or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical help early.
    In questions regarding health, please call the family physician advisory line 1220 or +372 634 6630 (also for calls from abroad).



  • According to the information known today, the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to flu symptoms.
  • The virus can cause cough, fever and breathing difficulties.
  • Droplet infection is the main mode of transmission, the virus spreads mainly through close contact with a person who has symptoms characteristic to the infection, especially cough.
  • The incubation period of the virus is about 2-14 days, with an average of 5 days.
  • As there is still uncertainty about the spreading of the virus and its symptoms, stricter measures are being taken as a precaution.
  • Proper hand hygiene is one of the most important preventive measures of coronavirus infections.


  • If you have any questions, please send them to the Health Board via email:
  • ☎️ The hotline 1247 to provide information on issues related to coronavirus. (24 h).
  • ☎️ In questions regarding health, please call the family physician advisory line 1220 or +372 634 6630 (also for calls from abroad).
  • ☎️ 112 -  Emergency number.
  • ☎️ 5301 9999 - Consular assistance hotline (24 h).
  • Travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs »

        Coronavirus disease COVID-19

        What we know?

        According to the known information, the first infected people were linked to the Wuhan live animal and seafood market.

        The virus is transmitted from person to person through droplet spread. The incubation period of the virus is about 2-14 days, with an average of 5 days.

        Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have been found in both humans and animals and that usually cause mild respiratory infections. More serious cases have previously been caused by SARS and MERS coronaviruses. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is genetically similar to the SARS coronavirus.

        COVID-19 symptoms are non-specific and their severity can vary. The disease may not always produce symptoms, but it may also lead to severe pneumonia, which for those belonging to the risk groups in the worst case can also end in death.

        The most common symptoms include:

        • fever (89,9%),
        • dry cough (67,7%),
        • fatigue (38,1%),
        • mucus (33,4%),
        • difficulty breathing (18,6%),
        • sore throat (13,9%),
        • headache (13,6%),
        • muscle and joint pain (14,8%),
        • cramps (11,4%),
        • nausea and vomiting (5,0%),
        • congested nose (4,8%),
        • diarrhea (3,7%),
        • coughing blood (0,9%),
        • irritated conjunctiva (0,8%).

        For most people who contract the coronavirus, the disease passes without complications and they get well.

        Reminder - the risk group for this virus includes the elderly as well as people with chronic disease, who often experience the more severe forms of the disease.


        What is coronavirus?

        Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that may cause infections in humans and animals, including several birds. Coronaviruses are considered zoonoses, i.e. they can be transmitted between animals and humans. The evolution of animal coronary viruses results in virus strains that can be transmitted from animals to humans and then spread among humans. This can lead to outbreaks of coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS. To date, seven types of coronaviruses have been identified that can be transmitted to humans and are capable of causing symptoms.

        Why are the cases of disease caused by novel virus alarming?

        The new coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2 discovered in China has not been previously identified in humans. Outbreaks of novel virus infections among humans are always of public health concern, especially when there is little knowledge about the characteristics of the virus, how it spreads between people, how severe the resulting infections are and how to treat them.

        How severe is COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2?

        At this point, the information available to the ECDC is very limited, but the new coronavirus strain detected in China has been found to be genetically and in some other respects similar to the SARS virus that spread in 2013. The disease caused by novel coronavirus is usually mild, with flu-like symptoms, and rarely develops into a more severe illness. The progression of the disease may be aggravated by prior chronic conditions such as hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, liver disease and other respiratory diseases.

        How did the outbreak start?

        The new coronary virus SARS-CoV-2 is most likely of animal origin, but studies to confirm the source of the virus and the modes of transmission are still ongoing.

        What is the mode of transmission? How easily does the virus spread?

        Official Chinese sources have confirmed that limited human-to-human transmission has been reported, and also several healthcare workers have caught the infection. At this point, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) does not have sufficient epidemiological data to support these reports. However, it cannot be ruled out that the number of confirmed cases and, consequently, deaths in China will increase in the coming days. Further global spread of the virus is also considered likely.
        The risk of virus introduction into Estonia is very high.

        What is the difference between limited human-to-human transmission and sustained human-to-human transmission?

        In case of limited human-to-human transmission, the virus spreads through direct contact with infected body fluids (blood, faeces, urine, saliva, sperm). In the case of sustained human-to-human transmission, the disease spreads very easily between people and can spread outside of groups of people in close contact, such as family or work groups.

        Where can I get quick answers to my questions in regard of the coronavirus?

        A national helpline 1247 has been opened, it will answer your questions 24/7.

        Why is it important to notice if healthcare professionals have been infected?

        Healthcare professionals are in constant contact with infected patients, which increases their risk of catching the infection themselves. Therefore, infection among health professionals is one of the first signs suggesting that the virus can be transmitted from human to human.

        Can wearing a face mask be an effective protection against coronavirus infection?

        The use of masks as a preventive measure for ordinary people is not justified. Moreover, because some people are wearing masks unnecessarily, there are not enough masks for people who actually need them.

        The best protection against the spread of infectious disease is compliance with regular hygiene requirements. Wearing a mask might be useful in at-risk areas as it will help to prevent the spread of infection from a person who has already been infected.

        The protection of the respiratory tract is particularly necessary for those who are in the at-risk area or who come into contact with infected or suspected of being infected persons, such as health care professionals, caregivers and family members.

        When coming into close contact with a patient with disease symptoms (i.e distance of 1 m, duration of at least 15 min), it is recommended to use appropriate protective respirators (FFP3). In the absence of a respirator, a protective (surgical) mask can be used, but it should be taken into account that if the mask is damp it´s efficacy is reduced, and the mask must be replaced. FFP3 respirators are available at work safety centres and other places selling protective equipment.

        What are the guidelines for monitoring my own health?

        If you were in contact with a person infected with the coronavirus, monitor your health over the course of 14 days and if you develop a fever over 38°C, a cough or have difficulty breathing, call a doctor and notify them about the condition of your health.

        Who is tested right now, in what kinds of cases, and who decides?

        Analyses are taken from those people, whose doctor has decided that they need to be tested. In the guidelines given to doctors, it says that tests should be done in the following cases: 

        Patients, who are hospitalised due to the coronavirus;

        At the decision of a doctor, patients staying at home with the coronavirus, who are among the risk group (the elderly, chronically ill, people with a weak immune system, medical workers and care home workers)

        In addition, random sampling is used to test those working in the front lines, i.e. vital service providers (medical workers, care home workers, police and border control officers at the borders, Defence League and Defence Force members), who in their line of work may pose a risk to people, who are in the risk groups.

        It is important to understand that these guidelines are meant for doctors. There is no reason for anyone to start determining themselves, whether they are in a risk group. This decision is one that a doctor makes. 

        Testing is not treatment. Testing does not impact how the disease will run its course, nor will it impact the treatment strategy that a doctor will use. There is no specific treatment for the coronavirus yet, so at this point only symptoms can be treated, so the doctor will choose a treatment plan according to the patient’s condition. A general practitioner will decide whether lab testing for the coronavirus is necessary or not. General practitioners have been issued guidelines for making those decisions. The general practitioner can also diagnose coronavirus cases without laboratory testing being carried out.

        Testing every single individual suspected of having the coronavirus was needed in the first phase of the disease spreading, when we were trying to keep the virus from reaching Estonia and spreading locally. Now we have to focus our efforts on slowing down the spreading of the disease. For that purpose, everyone with symptoms of illness should stay home, regardless of whether they have the coronavirus or any other illness. Health care resources, including personal protection and testing equipment, are limited around the world, which is why we have to use these resources sparingly and test only when it is medically called for, meaning, if a medical worker decides that it is necessary.

        What do the positive and negative coronavirus tests mean?

        If you have been tested for Sars-CoV-2 and the test result is positive, it is certain that you have contracted the disease COVID-19.
        If the test result is negative, monitor your health for 14 days or until symptoms subside. A negative result might not always mean that you have not contracted SARS-CoV-2 - you may still be in the incubation period, in which case the test does not show a positive result.

        Does a negative COVID-19 test result invalidate the requirement for a 14-day isolation?

        No, it does not.

        How long does it take for the Health Board to receive the results of corona virus tests, starting from the moment the test is done? Does the person get a phone call only when the test was positive or regardless of the result? Is this information added to the person’s file in the patient portal Digilugu?

        Persons who have given a positive sample will definitely get a phone call. If the test results are negative, the person can find the result of the analysis in the patient portal because there is not enough capacity to call everybody. Due to the heavy work load, it takes time to do the tests and notify of the results.

        How quickly do the results of the virus test reach the patient portal? There are claims that on occasions there is no information today for a test done on Friday but the results of a test done on Sunday are there.

        The results on the samples tested in the laboratory of the Health Board last week will be in the patient portal. The information on the result of the test will be sent to the family doctor who will enter in into the patient portal. Persons whose test results were positive will be notified personally by phone.

        How serious is the disease COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

        COVID-19 symptoms are non-specific and their severity can vary. The disease may not always produce symptoms, but it may also lead to severe pneumonia, which for those belonging to the risk groups in the worst case can also end in death. The most common symptoms include :

        • fever (89,9%),
        • dry cough (67,7%),
        • fatigue (38.1%),
        • mucus (33,4%),
        • difficulty breathing (18,6%),
        • sore throat (13,9%),
        • headache (13,6%),
        • muscle and joint pain (14,8%),
        • cramps (11,4%),
        • nausea and vomiting (5.0%),
        • congested nose (4,8%),
        • diarrhea (3,7%) ja
        • coughing blood (0,9%),
        • irritated conjunctiva (0.8%).

        For most people who contract the coronavirus, the disease passes without complications and they get well. 
        Reminder - the risk group for this virus includes the elderly as well as people with chronic disease, who often experience the more severe forms of the disease.

        If one of the spouses has been coughing since yesterday but does not have a fever, can the other spouse still go to work or do they have to stay at home now?

        If possible, the spouse should remain at home for 14 days.

        If my colleague tested positive for the corona virus, am I now also sick and what should I do?

        If your colleague tested positive for the corona virus, you are also recommended to stay at home for 14 days.

        How can people working in the service sector protect their employees and customers?

        Employees must follow the usual respiratory disease prevention measures:

        • When sneezing or coughing cover the mouth and nose with a tissue, which is to be disposed. Covering the mouth and the nose can be used in an emergency;
        • Cleaning hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer containing alcohol (especially after sneezing or coughing). Hand-sanitizer dispensers are an efficient measure at shops for both customers and employees;
        • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Disease can be spread when touching a contaminated surface, and after touching the eyes, nose or mouth.

        Can I order packages from the at-risk area or is there a danger of infection?

        The novel coronavirus COVID-19 does not spread with goods coming from the at-risk area, so packages ordered online can be accepted and opened without fear of infection.

        Why have the recommendations changed? 

        The situation related to the infection is constantly changing, and as a result, the recommendations are changing. When giving recommendations, the Health Board relies on the information provided by WHO and ECDC, such as risk assessments, number of cases and human-to-human transmission, etc.

        These are standard precautions that are used to limit the potential spread of the disease.


        Where to turn for information?

        • If you have any questions, contact the Health Board by e-mail:
        • If you have any questions regarding your health, call the family physician advisory line 1220 or +372 634 6630 (you can also call from abroad).
        • 1247 - Coronavirus crisis hotline 
        • 112 -  Emergency number
        • 5301 9999 - Consular assistance hotline (24 h)
        • Travel Wisely - Ministry of Foreign Affairs










        Last updated 31 March 2020