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TESTING FOR THE VIRUS

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Who and why are being tested for COVID-19 and how?

  • People are tested when they are symptomatic and it is medically indicated.
  • All hospitalised patients who have corona virus symptoms are also tested.
  • The necessity of testing is decided by the family doctor who sends the patient to be tested.
  • The doctor will evaluate all cases individually.
  • The guidelines that were agreed upon between the family doctors and the Estonian Health Board are there to aid the doctor, and all recommendations in the guidelines should be viewed in combination. Determining that a person belongs to a risk group and making the decision are a doctor’s responsibility, a person himself cannot and should not do this.
  • If a person gets sick or has any other health concerns, his first contact is his family doctor or the family doctor help line 1220 or 
    +372 634 6630 (also for calls from abroad).
 

Booking a coronavirus test

  • Testing is available for anyone who exhibits the symptoms of the virus. As a rule, the symptoms develop within five-to-six days after being infected. In some cases, an infected individual may be infectious for around one or two days before they develop any symptoms.
  • If you experience any symptoms, please stay at home and contact your family physician! The family physician will assess whether or not you should be tested and will give you health-related advice.
  • If your family physician decides that you should be tested, they will submit an electronic order to the lab and the lab will contact you to agree on the time and place of testing. Please wait to be contacted. Tests can also be taken on weekends and public holidays.
  • Take your identity document with you and go to the agreed testing site at the agreed time. Nasopharyngeal samples are only collected based on electronic referrals, at the agreed time and place, and also based on you producing an identity document. Please do not visit a testing site unless you meet all of the aforementioned requirements. If possible, you should visit the testing site alone.
  • Wait for the results. You will receive a call within two working days. The results can also be checked via the digilugu.ee environment.
  • If you have tested positive, please stay at home and follow your family physician’s instructions. If your condition deteriorates, get in touch with your family physician or call an ambulance (by dialling 112).
  • Anyone who has been confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 must self-isolate based on their doctor’s orders. The individual concerned must observe the quarantine requirements that have been established by Order No 257 of the Government of the Republic of Estonia. An individual who self-isolates may only leave home in case of an emergency (such as in the case of an accident, or if ordered to do so by the police, or to go to hospital if their condition deteriorates, etc).

In Estonia, the laboratories of the Health Board, Tartu University Clinic, SYNLAB, Norther Estonian Regional Hospital, Ida-Viru County Central Hospital, Pärnu Hospital, Kuressaare Hospital, West-Tallinn Central Hospital, and East-Tallinn Central Hospital have the testing capabilities of COVID-19.

 

Testing after returning from abroad

Anyone who is returning to Estonia from COVID-19 at-risk countries will have the opportunity to be tested for coronavirus at the port or airport in order to shorten the compulsory self-isolation period and return to work sooner. Testing is voluntary and is free of charge for Estonian residents, while visitors can pay by card on-site. The opportunity to shorten the period of self-isolation is not available for anyone who is arriving from third countries.

Tests can be taken in the pedestrian area of terminals A and D at the Port of Tallinn with the help of Confido medical personnel, as well as at a temporary testing point at Tallinn Airport based on a doctor’s referral note. The referral is issued on the spot and the traveller must specify the country from which they are arriving and the time of their arrival in order to be able to obtain a referral. It takes about five minutes to complete the referral note and provide a sample. People are tested on a first-come, first-served basis at the port and the airport. The testing points are open during the arrival of vessels and airplanes and are closed between arrivals.

Anyone who is returning from an at-risk country by land (whether by train or car, or on foot) can arrange a suitable time for testing. To do this, the public Testing Call Centre which has been set up by SYNLAB and Medicum will open a special telephone number (678 0000). The line is open from Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm.

In Estonia, priority for testing is given to people with symptoms. Therefore the waiting time is approximately one to two days, which is why it is recommended that you book a time in advance as soon as your time of arrival in Estonia is known. Tests can be carried out at public testing spots all over Estonia: in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Kuressaare, Võru, and Kärdla.

Citizens of foreign countries can take a coronavirus test at Tallinn Airport and at the Port of Tallinn to shorten the required self-isolation period in order to get back to work, based upon an agreement with their employer, or in order to go to school, for a fee of 67 euros which can be paid by card on-site. They can also use a paid testing service which is being offered by one of the providers of such services.

Individuals who arrive in Estonia to work or study from a country which is not included in the common European Union Euroopa list will not be able to shorten the compulsory restriction period on their freedom of movement by taking the test.

The call centre will contact the individual concerned to agree on a time at which they can take the second test, which can be carried out at least seven days after the first test has been conducted. The second test can only be taken based on a pre-booking, with the test itself being handled at the public testing sites in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Võru, Kuressaare, or Kärdla.

Testing will be provided by a public testing organisation, whose samples will be analysed by the SYNLAB laboratory based on an agreement with the Estonian Health Board.

Until the test results are known, complete self-isolation is required for all individuals. In the case of a negative result being provided, the individual will be notified via text message, while positive results will be communicated over the phone. The result will also be visible when you enter the health information system at digilugu.ee by using an ID card. In the case of a negative test result being provided, the individual concerned must remain in limited self-isolation for the first seven days following their arrival into Estonia, which means that they can go to work and, for example, visit the shops, but unnecessary contact must be avoided. The person concerned should also keep their distance from others while at work.

A second test must be carried out no earlier than seven days after the results of the first test have been provided, and if that test also proves negative then the individual concerned can resume their normal daily life. This means that after two negative tests an individual will not be subject to the full fourteen-day period of self-isolation which still applies to everyone who comes in from high-risk countries and who does not undergo testing. The public Testing Call Centre will get in touch with you to book a time for the second test.

Any country with a coronavirus infection rate of sixteen cases per 100,000 people or higher is considered to be a coronavirus-risk country.
An updated list of coronavirus-risk countries is published every Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and comes into force on the Monday of the following week. Up-to-date information can be found at: www.vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers.

 

Taking a repeat test

  • Anyone who has provided their sample free of charge will receive a call from the testing call centre and will be offered a time slot in which they can take a repeat test at a public testing site in Estonia.
  • Anyone who has used a paid testing service must themselves find a suitable service provider so that they can take their second test (such as SYNLAB Eesti, Medicum, Qvalitas Medical Centre, or Confido) as this service will not be provided automatically.
  • Taking the test will not shorten the fourteen-day quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives from third countries.
 

Is testing also available for citizens of other countries who travel to Estonia?

Visitors to Estonia can take the test at the airport for the fee of 67 euros. The test may also be taken elsewhere based on a price list that is issued by the respective service provider. The service is provided by the following service providers, among others:

     

    Do I have to get tested upon arrival in Estonia?

    Testing is voluntary.

     

    Who can take a test when arriving from abroad?

    • Individuals with an Estonian personal identification code who are arriving from at-risk countries can take the test free of charge.
      An updated list of at-risk countries is published every Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and comes into force on the Monday of the following week.
    • The test can be taken based on the production of an identification document.
    • Taking the test is voluntary and the option can be used to shorten the required period of self-isolation.
    • In the event of individuals travelling in by land, testing must be pre-booked by calling the testing call centre: +372 678 0000 (Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00).
    • Children who have an Estonian personal identification code may take the test but that will not exempt them from the obligation to self-isolate.
    • Any travellers who do not have an Estonian personal identification code can take the coronavirus test at the port or airport for a fee of 67 euros which can be paid by card. The test may also be taken elsewhere based on a price list that is issued by the respective service provider.
    • Taking the test will not shorten the fourteen-day quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives from third countries.
     

    Can children and elderly people also take the test upon arrival from abroad?

    There are no age restrictions that are applicable to testing.

     

    Is an individual who has arrived from abroad required to prove at the testing site which country they have travelled from? How should they do this?

    Providing documentation to show where you have travelled from to reach the testing site is not required. You will only be asked to specify your country of origin and your time of arrival.
    Any country with a coronavirus infection rate of sixteen cases or higher for every 100,000 people is considered to be a coronavirus-risk country.
    An updated list of at-risk countries is published every Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and comes into force on the Monday of the following week. Up-to-date information can be found at: www.vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers.

     

    Foreigners and individuals who do not have health insurance

    Foreigners and individuals who do not have health insurance must contact their nearest family health centre in the event of their developing symptoms. In the case of a suspected viral upper respiratory tract disease (such as a fever, dry cough, or breathing difficulties), patients will be seen irrespective of whether or not they are included in the list of patients for the family health centre. This is emergency care that must be provided by any family physician.

    ☎️ The family physician advisory line 1220  or +372 634 6630 (also for calls from abroad).