Delfi Rally Estonia
Fia WRC Autosport

Rally Estonia volunteers covered 12,000 kilometres in five days, transporting the coronavirus samples of the students who took state exams

As a partner of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board, SYNLAB Eesti, in cooperation with schools, helped high school graduates take a coronavirus PCR test based on a liquid throat rinse at their school before the exams, so that the state exams were as safe as possible for all involved.

In total, the schools called on responsible young people to take a coronavirus test before three different exams, allowing students to give a sample using a liquid throat rinse on 16, 19 and 20 April. In just a few days, more than 4,000 young people from 170 schools expressed their wish to take the test, thus protecting their own health as well as the health of their classmates and the entire school family. The samples were analysed by SYNLAB in its Tallinn laboratory using the PCR method and the examinees received the results within 24 hours. Prior to the first two exams, 17 asymptomatic virus carriers were detected in 14 schools.

SYNLAB was again assisted by a special team of WRC Rally Estonia volunteers, consisting of 50 members, in distributing the sampling kits to the schools and delivering the sample material to the laboratory.

The medical laboratory is cooperating with the special team of WRC Rally Estonia volunteers for the second time. A year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, the volunteers covered a total of 110,000 kilometres in three months by transporting coronavirus samples from across Estonia to Tallinn. This gave the rally organisers sound experience and knowledge of the process. Rally Estonia, as Estonia’s first stage of the FIA World Rally Championship, involved the laboratory with its testing competence, and no new infections were detected during the WRC Rally Estonia competition held last September. According to Tarmo Hõbe, Commercial Director of Rally Estonia, there was no doubt even for a moment when SYNLAB Eesti approached them to transport coronavirus samples for state exams.

Gerly Kedelauk, SYNLAB Eesti Project Manager for Examinee Testing: “When the Health Board approached us with the testing of examinees, we realised fairly quickly that taking sampling and safety equipment to 170 schools across Estonia and delivering the samples in three days would be too much for us. Our 30 drivers are currently fully loaded transporting samples from both public testing points and the offices of family doctors. Within the framework of the cooperation a year ago, we had conducted safety training for Rally Estonia volunteers and so we could trust them. We are very grateful that almost 50 volunteers immediately agreed to go to most Estonian schools in the same week to help young people take their exams safely.”

The accessories and safety equipment for testing were prepared for schools in the SYNLAB Tallinn warehouse, and the rally team received training on safe logistics. Involving volunteers allowed the samples to be sent to the laboratory faster and the examinees also received the results faster. Kedelauk is grateful to the people who visited the schools in their free time on behalf of the young people.

“First of all, we wish to thank SYNLAB Eesti for placing their trust in us, which serves as great recognition for our special team. This year, the entire plan came about very quickly. We received the proposal to transport the sampling kits to schools just a few days in advance. However, we were confident about the ability of our team and that we could do it. There were a total of 170 schools, and a logistics plan was quickly developed with the joint action of all parties. All carriers received comprehensive training from SYNLAB Eesti and we are pleased to be able to contribute to the safe conduct of state exams. It is very important that the number of infections in Estonia decreases and that no new virus outbreaks appear,” said Tarmo Hõbe, Commercial Director of WRC Rally Estonia.

“It was also a good opportunity for us to activate our larger team three months before the start of WRC Rally Estonia 2021. As with last year, we want to organise a major sporting event so that it would be safe for local residents as well as spectators and participants. We would like to thank all the members of our special team for their contribution to the safe conduct of state exams. We also send our gratitude to Toyota Estonia and Circle K, who took care of the vehicles and fuel,” added Tarmo Hõbe.

In addition, a video of the transport of coronavirus samples by WRC Rally Estonia volunteers has been made.

The next cooperation between Rally Estonia and SYNLAB Eesti is a joint effort to guarantee that on 15-18 July, the Estonian stage of the WRC in South Estonia will take place safely again and will not lead to any new infections.