Health Ministers of the Baltic States: we are working closely together to limit the spread of coronavirus
The Baltic health ministers Tanel Kiik, Ilze Viņķele and Aurelijus Veryga adopted a joint statement on coronavirus stressing the importance of solidarity and mutual support between the countries. Ministers reaffirm their intention to provide mutual assistance to improve health system preparedness as well as to cope with possible outbreaks.
“Rapid exchange of information is extremely important in coping with cross-border health threats, and coordination with our immediate neighbours is particularly important. In recent weeks, we have been in constant contact with the European Commissioner for Health, the WHO Regional Director and Member State health hinisters,” said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik. “As health ministers, we highly value the efforts of the European Commission, WHO and ECDC to protect European citizens and support the Member States. In the current situation, we need to show solidarity and cooperate fully to limit the spread of the virus. "
Ministers agreed on joint actions to tackle the spread of COVID-19:
• to provide relevant and truthful information to travellers returning from and to the risk area;
• exchange information on the epidemiological situation and the measures taken to control the spread of the virus;
• exchange information on recommendations and guidance to health and other professionals and the public;
• ensure the smooth flow of international traffic with all necessary precautions;
• ensure that measures taken at national borders are based on a public health risk assessment and are coordinated with neighbouring countries;
• regularly exchange information at both expert and ministerial levels.
In a joint statement, the ministers reaffirm solidarity between the Baltic States and their intention to provide mutual assistance both to improve health system preparedness and to cope with the pandemic.
EU health ministers have already met twice in the past month, most recently on 6 March. On 13 February the Council of Health Ministers adopted Council conclusions calling on Member States to ensure that passengers at all border crossing points have the information they need to seek medical care; that the health sector must have clear plans and resources to provide prompt assistance to patients who are suspected of being infected and affected, and to provide timely, evidence-based information and necessary behavioural guidance to the public to protect themselves from infection.
According to the Health Board, the risk of single cases of coronavirus being imported to Estonia is very high, the probability of a limited local transmission is medium to high, and the probability of wider local transmission is low.
Normal hygiene rules should be followed to prevent infection by washing hands and avoiding contact with people with respiratory symptoms. After returning from the risk area, health should be monitored for 14 days; In case of fever, cough or difficulty breathing, consult a physician immediately, seek advice from the family doctors advisory line 1220, call an ambulance if necessary. Coronavirus is worth suspecting if you have recent travel experience from the disease area and symptoms specific to the disease. More information: www.koroonaviirus.ee
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