NATO personnel entering Estonia not quarantined, checks still conducted

Challenger 2 tanks arriving at Tapa.
Challenger 2 tanks arriving at Tapa. Source: Social Media/NATO eFP Battlegroup in Estonia

While Estonia imposed controls on its borders starting from Tuesday which bar entry to those who are not citizens, residents or their family members, as well as a 14-day quarantine period for anyone entering the country, military personnel, including those involved in the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) based at Tapa, are exempt from these requirements, though still have to undergo precautions.

"For us it is critical that both our troops and those of our allies maintain their readiness, while taking all the necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading," a defense ministry spokesperson told ERR News Thursday

"According to the guidelines issued by the Prime Minister of Estonia, from March 16 foreign citizens involved in international military cooperation can enter Estonia provided they do not exhibit symptoms of coronavirus."

"In addition, prior to boarding a plane, all U.K. and Danish troops stationed in Estonia with the NATO Battle Group, are screened for COVID-19 using a temperature check and filling-out a questionnaire. They are able to carry out routine training in Tapa camp and there their capability remains unaffected."

The eFP is British-led and features Danish personnel as well as those of other NATO states. Personnel are rotated through the year; the core of the eFP at present is the Queen's Royal Hussars armored regiment (U.K.).

Exemptions also apply to the diplomatic corps and their family members, as well as providers of vital services and drivers and others bringing key goods.

As of Thursday, two members of the Estonian Defense Forces have been confirmed withcoronavirus (COVID-19), and 129 conscripts with symptoms of potential illness have been placed in quarantine. Additionally, 375 conscripts have been isolated without symptoms, bringing the total number of EDF members currently in quarantine to over 500.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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