Policy responses for Estonia - HSRM


Policy responses for Estonia

1.3 Isolation and quarantine

Since 25 February, travellers from high-risk regions (initially Northern Italy and China) were recommended to self-isolate for 14 days. Since 17 March, all people (except for a few exceptions) have to quarantine themselves for 14 days at home or at a hotel after arrival from a foreign country. People arriving from overseas must confirm that they will adhere to the guidelines by signing a statement to self-quarantine. The person under restriction may only leave with the approval of a health care worker or police officer or in the event of an emergency that poses a threat to the person’s life or health.

Since 28 March, persons with COVID-19 have to stay in strict home isolation until meeting certain criteria (14 days since developing symptoms, 48h without fever and 24h without respiratory symptoms). Persons are not allowed to leave their home unless they have approval from a health professional or police officer. Family members without symptoms can only leave the home if they have vitally important work-related responsibilities (e.g., health workers, police, critical public service), if they are shopping for basic necessities and alternative (e.g. online) options are not available, or if they stay outdoors.

Employees are eligible for the temporary sick leave benefit if a doctor considers self-isolation necessary. The patient can create their own sick leave certificates in the Patient Portal (digilugu.ee) as a temporary solution until 31 March (with potential extension). The primary health care (PHC) provider will contact the patient to confirm the need for the sick leave and the doctor may cancel the sick leave certificate if the need for it cannot be confirmed. The digital service was developed with the aim of reducing the number of calls to PHC providers from patients needing sick leave. Since providers are able to contact the people who have self-opened sick leave themselves, they can better manage the amount of incoming calls.

Sources: https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/koroonaviirus/, https://www.kriis.ee/et

The parliament has adopted temporary changes in sick leave regulation. Starting from January 2021, the person is entitled to sick leave benefit starting from the second day. From the 2nd to the 5th day the employer will pay for the benefit and EHIF will pay from the 6th day. The compensation rate remains at 70%. The new scheme will be adopted for 4 months and is expected to increase EHIF costs by 5 million out of which 2,5 million is provided to the EHIF by the Government.


Since 9 April, homeless people are subject to the same coronavirus restrictions as the rest of the population. This means that individuals who are staying at a shelter or safe house and who have come into contact with a COVID-19 case must remain at the shelter. Those quarantining at a homeless shelter, safe house or similar, must be assured of regular meals and other essentials. The Police and Border Guard Board will conduct compliance checks. Estonia has a total of 18 providers of homeless shelters nationwide, providing a total of 626 places.

Source: https://www.kriis.ee/et/uudised/eriteade-covid-19-nakatunud-kodutu-peab-pusima-varjupaigas-isolatsioonis (in Estonian)

The government confirmed the order to establish quarantine after the end of the emergency situation for COVID-19 patients and close contacts. People infected with COVID-19 are prohibited from leaving their place of residence from the time of diagnosis until recovery. This also applies to the people using shelters and other such services who must remain in quarantine at their place of stay.

People in close contact with infected persons may leave their residence to a limited extent only if they have no symptoms of the disease. Reasons for leaving the home include spending some time outdoors, essential work-related responsibilities (e.g., health workers, police, critical public service), if they are shopping for basic necessities and alternative (e.g. online) options are not available, if all the measures are taken to prevent the spread of the disease, and instructions of the Health Board are observed.

The person may also leave their residence if they have received an order from a health care worker or a police officer instructing them to leave the place of residence or permanent stay, or in the event of an emergency which threatens the person's life or health.
Source: https://www.kriis.ee/en/news/special-notice-government-approved-list-restrictions-and-easing-restrictions-force-after-end

On 21 May, the government approved an amendment regarding the procedure for travelling without quarantine between Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland. Estonian people who do not have symptoms of illness may travel between Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland if they have not been in a third foreign country within two weeks prior to crossing the border. If a person comes to Estonia from a third foreign country via, for example, Latvia or Lithuania, they must be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival, just as people coming from elsewhere.

Source: https://www.kriis.ee/en/news/government-specified-easing-restrictions-after-emergency-situation

On 29 May, the government extended the list of countries from where travellers have no quarantine requirement. This means that after 1 June, visitors from more than 20 countries can now travel to Estonia without undergoing a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.  A mandatory quarantine period is in place for travellers from other countries where 15 or more people per 100,000 inhabitants have become infected in the passenger's country of origin in the past 14 days. The list is updated every Friday and updates will take force the following Monday.

Source: https://news.err.ee/1096420/several-european-countries-added-to-no-quarantine-travel-list

As of 29 October, the Government decided to shorten the restriction on movement following border crossing when arriving from a country with a high risk of infection, as well as the quarantine period of an individual who came into close contact with a person infected with the coronavirus, from 14 to 10 days. The decisions of the Government are based on scientific research that shows about 95% of people exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 within 10 days of coming into contact with an infected person.

The opportunity still exists for travelers to substitute the restriction on movement with two tests, the first of which will be taken immediately after arriving in Estonia, and the second no earlier than on the seventh day after receiving a negative result for the first test, will continue to remain in effect. If both test results are negative, a person will be able to resume their normal life without waiting for the end of the 10-day isolation period. Specificities when travelling to Estonia from Latvia, Lithuania or Finland will also remain in effect (please see Section 6.1 for more details).

In addition, the duration of quarantine for an individual who has had close contact with a person infected with the coronavirus will also shorten if they take a coronavirus test no earlier than on the 10th day, and the result thereof is negative or a doctor has deemed them not infectious. The 10-day period starts from the most recent close contact, which will be determined by the Health Board.

The duration of quarantine applicable for a person diagnosed with COVID-19 does not change with the Decision of the Government.
Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/en/news/government-shortened-period-isolation-applicable-following-border-crossing-and-persons-close