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The Health Board: let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day and Shrove Tuesday safely!

The Health Board is calling on everyone to think about how they will safely celebrate Valentine’s Day and Shrove Tuesday, as coronavirus has spread extensively all over Estonia and the vaccination programme has not yet reached a stage at which we should feel safe from the risk of infection.

According to Üllar Lanno, director general of the Health Board, the epidemiological situation is serious enough to make it necessary to cancel any gatherings, and even the traditional Shrove Tuesday sledging should be done in private. ‘On Valentine’s Day this Sunday, the best gift for our friends would be a virtual greeting or a phone call. This way, we will protect one another’s health and help to ensure that we will be able to meet again in person one fine day, if we observe the restrictions,’ said Lanno.

Nationwide restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 apply across Estonia. Gathering together is permitted, but only provided that certain conditions are met. The Health Board is advising that all public events be cancelled for the near future. According to Mari-Anne Härma, deputy director general of the Health Board, celebrations in workplaces are also currently not safe. Therefore the joint Shrove Tuesday events and eating Shrove buns together should be avoided. ‘If anything is organised at all, then outdoor celebration of any events should be preferred in the near future. Social distancing should be practiced even outdoors, ensuring that everyone stays at least two metres away from others,’ explained Härma.

School holidays are also coming up at the end of February, as well as the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the republic of Estonia on 24 February. During the previous set of school holidays, the spread of coronavirus increased significantly, as people became careless and disregarded the restrictions. ‘We would certainly advise everyone to spend the school holidays in Estonia rather than going abroad, staying away from crowded places and wearing personal protective equipment,’ said Härma.

Official Independence Day celebrations can be followed from home this year via television broadcasts. The day will begin with live coverage of the celebratory hoisting of the national flag at 7.30 in the morning, which can be enjoyed via the Eesti Televisioon TV channel. ‘Even though Estonians are a mighty singing nation, we will have to replace the choir singing and concerts this year to celebrate our republic’s birthday with safer activities. Concerts and festive gatherings at schools are also not safe. Instead this special day can also be celebrated separately in each class,’ advised Härma.

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In total, 306 individuals are being treated in hospital due to symptomatic COVID-19

As of the morning of 29 November, hospital treatment is being provided to 306 individuals who have been infected with COVID-19.