Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says he has spoken to his Finnish counterpart following that country's announcement that commuting from Estonia to Finland for work was no longer exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement placed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Finland had allowed an exception from the quarantine requirement for Estonians who held residency permits in Finland but were normally resident in Estonia and commuted regularly across the Guld of Finland, on Thursday. However, the Finnish Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo tweeted late on Thursday that this was not now the case, expressing a hope that people who work in Finland would not leave.
Reinsalu said the Finnish decision was based on a recommendation from its health ministry.
"However, I asked for this exception to be continued, with reference to similar principles currently in place in both Estonia and Finland for allowing third country entries. I proposed a theoretical idea for a Finnish-Estonian quarantine area for discussion."
"We agreed that the prime ministers (i.e. Sanna Marin and Jüri Ratas-ed.) would discuss commuting as well as the common quarantine area in the morning," Reinsalu said.
The development as it stands means those Estonians who work in Finland but live in Estonia need to make a decision on which side of the Gulf of Finland they will stay, while the crisis lasts.
There are a reported circa 50,000 Estonians with permanent residence permits in Finland, and a further 20,000 hold temporary residence permits.
Finland is maintaining the commuting exception on its borders with Sweden and Norway, it is reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte