1. Preventing transmission
The section on PREVENTING TRANSMISSION includes information on key public health measures that aim to prevent the further spread of the disease. It details how countries are advising the general public and people who (might) have the disease to prevent further spread, as well as measures in place to test and identify cases, trace contacts, and monitor the scale of the outbreak.
1.1 Health communication
Estonia has implemented several new communication measures to keep the public informed about the coronavirus, including a daily media briefing organised by the government. A free hotline (1247) was established to answer questions related to the emergency situation and crisis measures. The existing family physician advisory line (1220) provides medical advice and information about testing centres.
Information and guidelines are made available on the Health Board website (https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/uuskoroonaviirus) in three languages (EE, EN, RU) and through social media channels. Information is available for people regarding hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, guidelines for people in isolation, videos on how to safely use masks etc. Information is updated on a regular basis.
Direct posting, e-mail and SMS notifications are also sent to the public. For example, around 900,000 people (two thirds of population) received instructions (in Estonian, Russian and English) by email on 9 March about how to act and to whom to contact in case of a suspected infection. Eesti.ee, the gateway to government information and e‑services, was used for that purpose. Following this e-mail, the government sent an SMS on 25 March to inform the public of new guidelines on public spaces and ask people to stay home and avoid any contacts.
As of 19 March, people can use the self-assessment environment Koroonatest.ee. By answering some simple questions, the tool helps to assess a person’s risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus. By responding to the survey, the user of the environment will receive further recommendations on how to act in his/her situation. The web-based solution was created by the start-up Montonio on 13-15 March at a hackathon organised by Garage48 and Accelerate Estonia, which aimed to develop solutions that help to mitigate the situation created by the spread of coronavirus. The Ministry of Finance is cooperating with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Board to run the environment.
An interactive chatbot called Suve was also created as a result of the hackathon. It is an automated chatbot, whose main task is to make sure that everyone living in or visiting Estonia gets their questions answered from official sources. The aim of the chatbot is to give people adequate information from official sources in one place, while fighting against misinformation. It is available on different governmental organizations’ websites.
Sources: https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/koroonaviirus/, https://www.kriis.ee/et
Update 8 April:
In order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, the state has launched a social responsibility campaign “You go out – You spread the virus. Stay home!” (“Lähed välja – levitad viirust. Püsi kodus!”) that calls on the Estonian people to prevent the unintentional spread of the coronavirus.
The weekly public opinion poll commissioned by the Government Office shows that 97–99% of the Estonian population report that they are well informed of issues related to the coronavirus. According to the self-reported survey results, 79% of the population follows all of the rules and instructions established to fight the virus, while 25% of the population goes out as much as they did before. While most of these individuals leave their residence due to work or other duties, one in seven (or 14%) do not think their actions affect the situation, and 7% go out because they are tired of sitting at home – most of these respondents are 15–24 years of age.