With countries in Europe and beyond either having imposed border restrictions or imposing them in the next few days, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) has reissued a plea for those in Estonia not to travel abroad, as the situation deteriorates amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are asking you to keep in mind that you should definitely postpone any plans to travel abroad from Estonia at this moment," Reinsalu said Monday.
Those already returning to Estonia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days as part of the country's coronavirus measures, the foreign ministry says. Estonia's own border controls, which will bar non-citizens or those without residence permits from entering the country, start on Tuesday, March 17.
"The Estonian state is doing its best to ensure the safety of Estonian people and we are working on finding solutions to the emergency," foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu said, according to a ministry press release. Reinsalu urged Estonian citizens in travel difficulty to contact the ministry.
The Estonian foreign ministry has issued the following information, aimed at Estonian citizens though giving generally information about Estonia's neighbors' and near-neighbors' upcoming border changes*:
- Denmark: Closed its borders to foreigners on 14 March, though, Estonian citizens can use Denmark's airports and land border to transit to Sweden, by ferry or the Øresund Bridge.
- Finland: Finnair has announced it will suspend flights to Tallinn from Tuesday, 17 March. All flights scheduled for departure after 23.50 on 16 March have been cancelled. At the time of writing, Finland-Estonia ferries are running on schedule, though one of Tallink's vessels, the Silja Europa, is to make its last voyage until further notice from Helsinki to Tallinn late on Monday.
- Germany: Closed its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark on 16 March at 8.00 a.m. The border is still open to freight and German citizens, as well as citizens of Austria, Switzerland, France and Denmark who work in Germany. All those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are forbidden from either leaving or entering the country.
- Latvia: International passenger cross-border travel suspended from midnight, March 19.
- Lithuania: Cross-border travel ending from midnight, March 19. At the time of writing, return to Estonia via the Kiel (Germany)-Klaipeda (LIthuania) is possible until midnight, 19 March, transiting through Lithuania and Latvia. Contact the Estonian embassy in those countries for most up-to-date information.
- Norway: Now only allowing entry to Norwegian citizens, and some citizens of the EU and the EEA, and their family members residing in Norway, and third country citizens holding a residence permit. Estonian citizens are not now being admitted into Norway.
- Poland: Border is already closed to foreign nationals though plans to allow an escorted convoy through the country for Estonian nationals is to take place and involve just over 70 Estonian citizens in a little over 30 vehicles, following a deal between the Polish and Estonian authorities late on Sunday.
- Russia: National carrier Aeroflot has announced it will suspend flights between Moscow and Tallinn from 19 March to 30 April.
- Sweden: While the Stockholm-Tallinn ferry is suspended, the Stockholm-Helsinki ferry is still running at the time of writing.
- The land border between Portugal and Spain is closed from Monday, March 16, and domestic restrictions on movement are imposed for the next 15 days.
- Borders are closed in the following countries either in their entirety or open only to citizens of certain states: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States (to passengers arriving from Europe, the U.K. and Ireland), Vietnam.
- Border checks or medical screenings are also being introduced by the United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Slovenia and others.
*Information correct at the time of writing, according to the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Editor: Andrew Whyte