The government decided on Thursday, 17th December 2020 that it is necessary to continue the research on the spread of COVID-19’s and waste water analysis. The Ministry of Social Affairs provides the Ministry of Education and Research 4 000 750 euros to conduct the studies.
“Estonian researchers have done excellent work. Monitoring the distribution and wastewater are important for deciding possible additional measures that need to be taken,” said Jaak Aab, the Minister of Education and Research. “I’d also like to thank the participants – your contribution helps us all to get a better understanding of the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
The researchers from the University of Tartu will determine what is the actual spread of COVID-19 in Estonia. The research will be conducted among a random statistical sample of adults. The prevalence of the coronavirus will be determined among both the symptomatic and the asymptomatic population. This way it will be possible to estimate the state-wide spread of the virus in different population groups and regions. The participation in the study is voluntary; people who have become part of the sample can refuse to be interviewed and/or tested at any moment in time.
Additional measures and their effectiveness can be decided and evaluated based on the interim report. Ten different researches have been conducted to date. The results will be used by the researchers’ advisory board to evaluate the situation and to advise the government.
Traces of the virus can be detected in waste water samples even before clinical patients are found. Waste water analysis also provides early information about the local spread of the virus. The study aims to discover latent outbreaks and monitor the dynamics of outbreaks.Once an undetected spread is discovered, additional research attention will be paid to the region.