On 26 November, Mari-Anne Härma, Acting Director-General of the Health Board, issued an order that all Estonian residents who return to Estonia can go for free testing. The PCR test is free regardless of whether you are coming from a risk country or a location where the infection rate is low.
The Health Board provides free testing for all passengers from November 26, as a new worrying coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 has been detected in South Africa. According to Mari-Anne Härma, Acting Director-General of the Health Board, it is important that all people coming from abroad take the PCR test and that positive tests are sequenced. “This is a precautionary measure, because there is not yet enough information on the new strain to draw fundamental conclusions. However, it is important to identify new variants as soon as possible and to isolate the cases in order to avoid the extensive spread of new strains,” she added.
The B.1.1.529 strain of the virus has not yet been identified in Estonia. In Estonia, there is a permanent extensive local spread of the Delta variant.
According to the World Health Organisation, it will take a few weeks to evaluate the transmission of variant B.1.1.529 and the effectiveness of vaccines against this strain. It is extremely important to emphasize that the existing infection control measures must definitely be followed in order to prevent the transmission of the virus.
The entire information about testing is available here: https://koroonatestimine.ee/en/for-patients/testing-after-a-trip-abroad/
In South Africa, a high percentage of the variant B.1.1.529 was identified. Insofar as the infection rate in South Africa is low, it is not possible to make comprehensive conclusions on the spread of the strain. The high prevalence of the virus strain B.1.1.529 may be due to individual cases related to the so-called super-spreaders and the extent to which it has a competitive advantage over other virus strains is unknown. However, a doubt remains that the B.1.1.529 strain may be widespread in Africa.