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Changes regarding testing and quarantine conditions which will be applied from next week onwards

As of Monday, the quarantine conditions for healthcare workers will be changed, as well as the principles which underlie PCR testing policies.

With the rapid spread of the omicron strain of coronavirus, the number of healthcare workers has increased where they are being quarantined due to COVID-19. To ensure the continuity of healthcare service provision, the quarantine policy for healthcare workers who become infected with the coronavirus is going to be alleviated. ‘Coronavirus where it is caused by the omicron strain is generally contracted more quickly and more easily, which gives us enough confidence to be able to ensure the continuity of the provision of hospital and healthcare facilities in a situation in which we are facing staff shortages. To ensure this continuity, we can give staff the opportunity to return to work before the end of their quarantine period. It must be made clear here that the employer must thoroughly have considered the possible risks involved in bringing employees back to work early, with the employee being confirmed beforehand as not having had a fever within the last twenty-four hours, that any symptoms of coronavirus which they may have had are now receding, and that they wear an FFP2/FFP3 respirator until they have completed a full recovery,’ explained Mari-Anne Härma, acting director-general of the Health Board. It is important that healthcare facilities have a high level of awareness when it comes to knowing how to avoid situation in which people could be infected. 

As of Monday, the Health Board will drop any recommendations regarding the confirmation of positive PCR rapid antigen tests. Similarly, it is not recommended that a PCR test be taken for people who have previously come into contact with someone person who has COVID-19 and who subsequently develops symptoms which are suggestive of COVID-19. ‘In this case, the individual concerned should stay at home and, if necessary, contact their general practitioner’s clinic to officially remain on sick leave. A PCR test is not absolutely necessary to confirm the presence of coronavirus,’ Härma said. The option of being able to take a PCR test, however, remains available until the end of February, when it is expected that the need to take a PCR test for national certification purposes will come to an end.

Read more about decisions which are being taken by Estonia’s government here.

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