Monitoring study to estimate holiday season’s impact on virus spread

Researchers of the University of Tartu begin this year’s first stage of the coronavirus prevalence study on 7 January. In the study they estimate the impact of nationwide restrictions imposed in mid-December, regional restrictions placed shortly before the end of the year, and the holiday season on the spread of the virus.

During the study stage, conducted until 18 January, the researchers plan to test 2,500 adult persons selected by random sample from all over Estonia. According to the head of the survey, the University of Tartu Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda, the results of the study stage completed before Christmas showed some signs of stabilisation. Still, the Health Board infection statistics reveal a moderate rise in new infection cases.

“The holidays in the meantime encouraged people to travel and socialise with others. In the upcoming study stage we will analyse how much it has affected the spread of the virus. Can we say that the epidemic is stabilising, or is it still gathering momentum? The results of the study serve as a starting point to help decide on further restrictions,” Kalda explained.

The research company Kantar Emor will contact the individuals who have been randomly selected into the sample. The participants are asked to complete an online questionnaire to get an overview how the coronavirus epidemic has affected their everyday life. To give a nasopharyngeal swab test, they need to go to public testing stations, the work of which is coordinated by Medicum. Disabled or elderly people and people with impaired mobility may order a testing team to test them at home. Test samples are analysed in the Tallinn laboratory of Synlab. Participants in the study can view their test results in the Patient Portal at or using the Testi mobile app. The research team will regularly interview all those who test positive in the study over the next two to four weeks to follow the course of the disease.

The monitoring study of the coronavirus prevalence is conducted by a broad-based research team of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Synlab and Kantar Emor.

More information on the study is available on the University of Tartu website.

Further information: Ruth Kalda, Head of Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, Professor of Family Medicine, University of Tartu, +372 5698 5599,