Foreign ministry: Stranded Estonians should head towards Europe, avoid USA

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

As many countries around the world have closed their airspace, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) noted that people who are trying to get home from non-EU countries should head towards Europe as there it's easier to find flights home.

According to Reinsalu, around 2,400 people needing help getting back to Estonia have consulted the ministry since the start of the crisis.

"There are now less people stranded but the cases have become more complex, because people are stranded in different countries around the world," Reinsalu said. The most difficult cases are in Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal.

Around 7,100 people have called the foreign ministry's emergency number since March 14. In addition, the ministry has been contacted by e-mail and on Facebook. Around 8,000 people or more have been consulted in ten days, foreign ministry's communications adviser Pia Kuusik told ERR's online news in Estonian on Tuesday.

"2,400 people needed more specific assistance. For around 1,600 people, a solution has been found," Kuusik said.

The authorities are aware of 240 Estonians who are stranded in 44 different countries. According to Reinsalu, Estonia is cooperating with other EU states to bring them back, recalling that the state will not reimburse their travel expenses.

The minister noted that people should head towards Europe as there it's easier to find flights home. People stranded in Southern and Central America should, however, avoid trying to fly back to Estonia through USA.

"Cooperation with the United States has been rendered more difficult due to severe restrictions on border crossings. That is why we recommend Estonian citizens to find a flight route that will take them through other destinations," Kuusik added.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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