The Estonian foreign ministry is recommending avoiding all but essential international travel due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The data from the Estonian Health Board shows that as of 3 September, Estonia’s COVID-19 infection rate is 16.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. The foreign ministry “would like to point out that as a result of Estonia’s infection rate, countries can introduce additional measures for passengers arriving from Estonia”.
In cases where travel is absolutely essential, the ministry calls on Estonian citizens to find information on the rules that apply to them on the websites of relevant authorities of the destination country, register their trip on the ministry website and keep an eye on developments and restrictions in their planned destination.
Estonia’s neighbours Latvia and Finland will soon discuss the specific terms for border crossing due to the spread of the coronavirus.
“The government of Latvia plans to hold a special session on Friday to discuss decisions regarding cross-border movement between the Baltic States. If the infection rate in Estonia exceeds 16 as of Friday, mandatory self-isolation comes into force at 12:00 AM on Saturday for passengers travelling to Latvia from Estonia, and they must fill out a health declaration form. More detailed conditions, including information about transiting Latvia by road or via Riga Airport, will be specified after the special session of the Latvian government,” the Estonian foreign ministry noted.
Finland working on a long-term strategy
Estonia is interested in modifying common agreements to enable the continuation of the free movement of people, and has submitted its proposals to Latvia accordingly. Estonia would like to find a solution that would at least enable the continuation of work-related movement across the border and free movement in the twin city of Valga-Valka. According to the information available, potential additional restrictions should not affect the free movement of goods, the ministry added.
On Wednesday, 2 September, the working group of officials from Estonia and Finland, established by the foreign ministers of the two countries, convened to discuss cross-border movement between the countries. Estonia presented its proposals for cooperation measures that would contribute to and enable the preservation of the free movement of people between the two countries in the context of COVID-19.
Finland, in turn, informed Estonia that it was drafting a long-term strategy for containing the spread of the virus, which the government of Finland would discuss in the near future. “The Estonian foreign ministry is monitoring the decisions made by Finland, and will notify of any changes that affect movement between Estonia and Finland.”
Cover: A ferry of the Estonian shipping company, Tallink, leaving the Port of Tallinn for Helsinki. The image is illustrative. Photo by Tallink.