People arriving in Estonia from high coronavirus risk countries can get tested upon arrival

From 1 September, people returning to Estonia from high coronavirus risk countries will have the opportunity to be tested for the novel coronavirus at the airport and the port in order to shorten the 14-day self-isolation period and allow them to return to work sooner.

The testing is free of charge for Estonian residents; foreigners can take the test at a cost of €67 and can pay on the spot by card.

The tests can be taken in the pedestrian areas of terminals A and D of the Port of Tallinn as well as at a temporary testing point at Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, based on a doctor’s referral note that is issued on the spot. It takes about five minutes to complete the referral note and give a sample. People are tested on a first-come, first-served basis. The testing points are open each day until the last ship and air passengers arrive, the Estonian Health Board said in a statement.

Those returning from a risk country by land (train, car, on foot) can arrange a suitable time for testing. To do this, the public Testing Call Centre set up by SYNLAB and Medicum will open a special telephone number.

In Estonia, the priority for testing is given to people with symptoms. Therefore, the waiting time is approximately one-two days, which is why it is recommended to book a time in advance as soon as one’s time of arrival to Estonia is known. Tests can be done at public testing spots all over Estonia in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Kuressaare and Kärdla.

D-terminal of the Port of Tallinn. Photo by the Port of Tallinn.

Complete self-isolation until the test results are known

Until the test results are known, one must be in complete self-isolation. In the case of a negative result, the person will be notified via text message, positive results will be communicated over the phone. The result will also be visible when entering the health information system with an ID card.

“In the case of a negative test result, the person must stay in limited self-isolation for the first seven days following arrival to Estonia, ie the person can go to work and, for example, a shop, but unnecessary contacts must be avoided. The person should also keep their distance from others while at work,” the Health Board asserted.

A second test must be performed no earlier than seven days after the results of the first test, and if it is also negative, a person can resume their daily life. This means that after two negative tests a person will not be subjected to the full 14-day self-isolation, which applies to everyone coming from high-risk countries who did not undergo testing. The public Testing Call Centre will get in touch with a person to book a time for the second test.

A country with a coronavirus infection rate of 16 cases per 100,000 people or higher is considered a high coronavirus risk country.

Cover: Tallinn Airport’s terminal.

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