Movement restrictions for western islands to be lifted on May 18 ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The ferry Leiger approaching the Port of Rohuküla. Photo is illustrative.
The ferry Leiger approaching the Port of Rohuküla. Photo is illustrative. Source: Juhan Hepner/ERR

Movement restrictions between the western islands and the mainland will be removed on May 18, Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"Of course, it must be assumed that these decisions will only take effect if the virus shows signs of diminishing," Aeg said.

Aeg (Isamaa) said people who live on the islands according to the population register can start moving freely between the mainland and islands from May 4.

On Monday, the government loosened movement restrictions between the islands and the mainland which had stopped anyone being able to return if they traveled during the emergency situation.

Special permits will now be issued for visiting the islands. Each day 25 permits will be issued for Saaremaa, five for Muhu and Manija, 20 for Hiiumaa and ten each for Kihnu, Ruhnu and Vormsi. The special permit is valid for one round trip. Tourists are not allowed. The local government will oversee who can travel to and from the islands.

The government also decided to ease restrictions on trade and the service sector in Saaremaa from next Tuesday. The 2+2 rule must still be observed.

On May 18, all restrictions will be lifted.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) reiterated the message with a post on his Facebook page saying the plans would go ahead as long as the situation does not deteriorate.

Ratas wrote movement will restart between the islands and the mainland step by step in order to restore daily life, revitalize the economy and to keep the spread of the virus under control.

Popov: We can talk about restarting planned treatment at Kuresaare Hospital

Speaking at the press conference, Arkadi Popov, the emergency medical officer at the Health Board, said the situation in Saaremaa is stabilizing and the extra crisis staff at Kuressaare Hospital will also stop working on April 30.

"From this day on, the usual crisis management structure of Kuressaare Hospital will start. We are also talking about the restarting of planned treatment. A roadmap will be developed for this," said Popov.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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