The Estonian foreign ministry has published an emergency situation travel information bulletin where it notes that travel is becoming very difficult and the circumstances continue to deteriorate in real time.
Aiming to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus, several countries have imposed restrictions on entry and several flight operators are also restricting operations.
The Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, said that travel is becoming very difficult and circumstances continue to deteriorate in real time. “We are asking you to keep in mind that you should definitely postpone any plans to travel abroad from Estonia at this moment,” he emphasised.
“If the country of destination has closed its borders or international transport has been suspended, please contact the foreign ministry or the Estonian embassy,” Reinsalu said. “The Estonian state is doing its best to ensure the safety of Estonian people and we are working on finding solutions to the emergency.”
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Many countries have restricted travel
Estonian citizens currently travelling abroad and wishing to return to Estonia should be aware of the following restrictions:
Transit through Latvia and Lithuania is allowed to Estonian citizens until midnight 19 March. After this time, international passenger transport is suspended in both countries, and those wishing to return are advised to find alternatives by ferry transport.
Transit through Poland is not possible at this time. There are plans to organise an escorted convoy through Poland. This option is open to people who notified the foreign ministry by 16 March at 8:00 AM. A total of 73 Estonian citizens – 22 small buses and 11 cars – registered for the convoy. The information has been forwarded to Polish authorities. Further instructions are currently being drawn up.
Germany closed its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark on 16 March at 8:00 AM. The border is open to freight and German citizens working on the other side of the border, as well as citizens of Austria, Switzerland, France and Denmark working in Germany. People with symptoms of the coronavirus are not allowed to enter or leave the country. At the moment, returning to Estonia is possible by the Kiel-Klaipeda ferry and until midnight 19 March, by transit through Lithuania and Latvia. The Estonian embassy has the most recent information.
Denmark closed its borders to foreigners on 14 March; however, Estonian citizens can use Denmark’s airports and land border to exit to Sweden – the Helsingør-Helsingborg ferry link and the Øresund Bridge. As the Stockholm-Tallinn ferry line has been suspended, Estonians can still take the Stockholm-Helsinki ferry and then proceed to Tallinn.
Aeroflot has announced it would suspend flights between Moscow and Tallinn from 19 March to 30 April. Finnair has also announced it would suspend flights to Tallinn from 17 March. All flights scheduled for departure after 11:50 PM on 16 March have been cancelled. As of now, ferries run on schedule.
Self-isolation for 14 days
When travelling, please know that from 16 March at 8:00 AM, Norway will allow entry only to Norwegian citizens, citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) and their family members residing in Norway, EU/EEA citizens working in Norway and foreigners holding a residence permit. Estonian citizens will not be admitted to Norway.
On 16 March, the land border between Portugal and Spain will be closed and domestic restrictions on movement are imposed for the next 15 days. The Estonian foreign ministry asks people who find themselves in a restricted area to contact them by email email@example.com.
People returning to Estonia must self-isolate for 14 days to stop the spread of the virus.
Borders are closed in the following countries – Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary (to passengers arriving from certain countries), Bosnia and Herzegovina (to certain countries), Turkey (to certain countries), Portugal, Montenegro, Serbia, Jordan, Lebanon (to certain countries), Israel, North Macedonia (to certain countries), Serbia (to certain countries), Ukraine, Czech Republic, Russia (to certain countries), Vietnam, United States (to passengers arriving from Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland), Moldova, Austria (connections with certain countries are suspended), Greece (to certain countries), Germany, Kazakhstan.Border checks or medical screenings are introduced by Austria, United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland.
For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.
Cover: Tallink’s MS Baltic Queen cruise ship in Tallinn Harbour. Photo by Kalle Id, shared under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.