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Health Board: rapid coronavirus tests are not reliable

Foto: Pixabay

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), rapid coronavirus tests are not reliable due to lack of validation and may therefore give false negative results.

Mari-Anne Härma, Head of the Infectious Disease Monitoring and Epidemic Control Department of the Health Board, says that infection can currently be detected by the analysis of nasopharyngeal and throat swabs, as the person spreads the virus with droplets, by for example, coughing and sneezing. "The reliability of rapid tests has not yet been confirmed, and therefore, their use can be dangerous in terms of epidemic control," said Härma, and was worried that people who have received false-negative results in rapid tests could unknowingly spread the virus. "At the moment, according to the WHO and ECDC experts we have to accept the fact that no reliable rapid tests for coronavirus have yet been placed on the market."

In Estonia, the laboratories of the Health Board and Synlab currently have the facilities to detect viral disease COVID-19. In the coming days, these facilities will also be created in the laboratories of North Estonia Medical Centre, Tartu University Clinic, Ida-Viru Central Hospital and Pärnu Hospital.

WHO recommends using lower airway samples for testing against 2019-nCoV. If the patient has no symptoms of lower respiratory tract disease or if lower airway sampling is not possible, material from upper airway should be tested.

In addition to usual ambulance crews, in Tallinn and Tartu, there are additional two-member paramedic teams consisting of a health care professional and an emergency medical technician, serving only suspected coronavirus cases. The two-member teams take coronavirus samples at the suspected person’s home. In public places (such as airports and ports), a three-member ambulance crew responds to suspected cases of coronavirus, delivering suspected persons to a hospital.

People who have a reasonable suspicion of coronavirus infection should call their family physician or family physician advisory line 1220. If your health condition deteriorates call the emergency number 112.

Coronavirus should be suspected, if you have visited the risk area in past 14 days, have been in close contact with someone carrying coronavirus, and have developed symptoms specific to the disease, such as cough, fever and/or difficulty breathing. In other cases, it is likely that you have contracted commonly occurring influenza or another similar virus.

In addition to avoiding close contact with people who have symptoms of respiratory illness, adherence to good hygiene practices, which include proper and frequent hand washing, helps prevent infectious diseases.

Based on the risk assessment of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Health Board considers the People's Republic of China, Italy, Iran and South Korea to be coronavirus risk areas. People who stay in countries with widespread outbreak are at high risk of infection.

Veel uudiseid samal teemal


A total of 202 influenza and 1,726 COVID-19 cases reported this week 

In week fifteen, a total of 3,184 people fell ill with acute respiratory infections, of whom 38.4% were children. The overall incidence of acute respiratory viral diseases increased by 39%.


A total of 151 new influenza cases and 1,466 COVID-19 cases have been added this week

In week fourteen, a grand total of 2,297 people fell ill with acute respiratory infections. Overall, 36.4% of all of the new cases involved children. The number of new cases decreased by a third.