Estonia is closing its borders to foreigners, starting 17 March, the government decided overnight.
This means Estonia has reinstituted border checks at the inner and outer border of the Schengen area.
The only people to be allowed to Estonia are the citizens of the country, the Estonian “grey passport” holders (Estonian Russians and other resident aliens with undefined citizenship), the permanent residents and the foreigners whose family members reside in Estonia. The state also allows foreigners who are transiting through the country to enter, provided they don’t have any coronavirus symptoms. Urmas Reinsalu, the Estonian foreign minister, confirmed to Estonian World that temporary resident permit holders, too, will be allowed back in the country.
“This rule has many practical exceptions, like truckers and the relatives of Estonian residents. The ban has one purpose: to protect the nation’s health and to prevent the virus from spreading. There are no restrictions for Estonian citizens from entering the country and no restrictions on Estonian citizens and foreigners leaving the country,” Reinsalu said.
At the Estonian borders, everyone’s travel documents and possible symptoms will be checked.
The country’s prime minister, Jüri Ratas, said the goods and produce transport into the country is guaranteed, provided the transporters don’t have the symptoms of coronavirus.
“Estonia has a sufficient stock of food, in both the retailers’ and the state’s warehouses. Therefore, there is no need to worry about a deficit of food and essential goods. It’s reasonable to buy at the store as much as needed.”
For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.
Cover: A lonely passenger plane at the Tallinn Airport. Courtesy of the Tallinn Airport.