What are Estonia's digital solutions to the COVID-19 virus crisis?
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
The Corona virus has been a big system check for all governments. It puts under heavy load all the digital solutions that countries have in place and shows where not enough has been done. The main solution right now to stop the contagion is self quarantine and generally less interaction between people. This gives an advantage for countries that have a strong digital presence like Estonia. Here are some examples of how Estonia is taking advantage of their digital society.
All the schools have been closed but it is not a new vacation for the students. The e-school system allows for distance learning. This system has been working for some time already, it is a quick and easy solution for bringing the pupils, their families, schools and teachers together into a connected learning community. Teachers can share assignments, teaching materials and communicate with pupils remotely.
Most services (banks, phone and TV companies, drugstores...) have closed or limited the access to their physical storefronts. Fortunately all services can be accessed online through your id-card. You can sign documents digitally or log into government services without moving away from your computer. One of the services that was digitized in the first weeks of the pandemic to the e-government platform was the registration of newborn babies.
The 2020 first round of the local elections in France were held amidst the pandemic. All local and national elections could have been organised in Estonia thanks to the online voting system already in place since 2007.
In a pandemic crisis people need to have access to food without taking the risk of spreading the virus. Estonia has the digital solutions giving alternatives to going physically to the store. All major grocery stores have online delivery services that convey food all around the country. There are also multiple delivery services specialized in bringing your orders from restaurants. All them have come up with a contactless delivery service.
Germ-ridden cash is a major vector for viral transmission, fortunately Estonia has been for some time already pushing for contactless payments. Most shops have this option available. Public transportation has also contactless card payment options.
Working from home
Estonian internet network infrastructure is one of the best in the world. You have a good chance of getting internet connection even in the deepest woods. This allows most IT related companies to let their employees work from home as getting a stable connection is not a major deal breaker.
These solution can help in keeping people isolated but only if they use them. Of course all those e-solutions didn't stop people from panic shopping in masses. The most important is that people take the situation seriously and follow self isolation and hygiene rules.