Minister: No Poland deal yet for Estonians returning in wake of coronavirus

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (left).
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (left). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonian citizens and residents returning to Estonia in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the government's decision to close the border from Tuesday, March 17, may see their journey complicated by Poland's decision to close its own borders earlier, from midnight on Sunday, March 15.

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says no progress on negotiations to facilitate Estonian citizens returning via Poland at the time of writing. The issue primarily affects those travelling by road and crossing into Poland via its western Border with Germany.

"Poland has closed its external border. I have had a discussion with the polish authorities at night and today to create the opportunity for Estonian citizens to return to Estonia. There is no positive solution at the moment, the negotiations continue," Reinsalu wrote on his social media account Sunday afternoon.

The foreign minister also told all those concerned to contact the foreign ministry via email, on [email protected].

"In order to have a clear overview of the future activities, I ask all Estonian citizens on the border of polish-German border to report to [email protected] please provide the number and names of individuals, vehicle details, contact details and your location. Please share this message," Reinsalu continued.

Latvia closing borders Tuesday

Latvia is set to close its borders also on Tuesday, public broadcaster LSM's English-language portal reports.

Lithuania also plans to close its borders. According to public broadcaster LRT's English-language site, on Saturday the Lithuanian government was "close" to agreeing a 72-hour "humanitarian corridor", given Poland's impending border closure, to facilitate transit at least of Lithuanian citizens returning to their country.

Urmas Reinsalu urged Estonian nationals to return home from any foreign trips as soon as possible on Saturday. On Sunday morning, the government issued a call to travel companies to expedite this.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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