Direct flights ban in COVID-19 high-risk countries extended for two weeks ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Arrivals at Tallinn Airport.
Arrivals at Tallinn Airport. Source: Sander Koit/ERR

The bar on flights from countries considered coronavirus high-risk has been extended to July 14, the government says. This means that direct flights from the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus are still off the table, as well as from the European Union countries of Sweden and Portugal. A lift on restrictions to travelers from China is dependent on China itself lifting a ban on visitors from the European Union, the government says.

"Coronavirus has not disappeared and the situation in other countries still needs to be monitored," economic affairs minister Taavi Aas (Center) said Tuesday evening.

"There are places in Europe where the number of infections has somewhat increased, which is why we will continue with the restriction that entered into force on 18 May," Aas continued, according to a ministry press release.

May 18 was the first day following the end of the emergency situation the coalition declared in mid-March, in response to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 infection rate must be 25 or fewer people per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous 14 days, in order for the travel bar to be lifted.

Reciprocal rules in destination countries must also be adhered to, ie that Estonia admits entry to travelers from a country does not necessarily mean that the reverse is the case, and regulations in that country must be checked before travel.

As of June 26, direct flights between Estonia and Sweden, Portugal, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia are banned.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, in co-operation with the Health Board, is to assess the situation on an ongoing basis; the current restrictions remain in place to July 14.

Information about specific countries and their cumulative number of coronavirus infections per 100,000 during the last 14 days is here (scroll down for English text).

EU reaches agreement on third countries

With regard to third countries, a more general term referring to non-EU states, Aas said that this was being coordinated on an EU basis.

"The European Union is currently drawing up a list of third countries from which entry into the union is permitted. Unfortunately, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are not among these countries, as the spread of the virus in these countries is still worrying," he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Fatherland) said that the Council of the EU reached an agreement on third country passenger arrivals to the "EU +" on Tuesday, although implementation is up to each individual member state.

"The implementation of the council recommendation is decided independently by the Member States. The government will discuss in more detail how Estonia will apply the recommendation on Thursday," Reinsalu said, according to a foreign ministry press release.

The restrictions can be lifted on the following countries from Wednesday, July 1, the EU says:

  • Algeria.
  • Australia.
  • Canada.
  • China (pending China removing its entry restriction for EU citizens).
  • Georgia.
  • Japan.
  • Morocco.
  • Montenegro.
  • New Zealand.
  • South Korea.
  • Rwanda.
  • Serbia.
  • Tunisia.
  • Uruguay.

Member states should continue to apply Article 6 of the Schengen Borders Code, which lays down entry requirements for third-country nationals, the EU says, and in particular member states should be responsible for monitoring health risks of entrants.

The EU + means all Schengen Zone countries (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) and the four countries that have joined the Schengen Agreement which are non-EU (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the Swiss Federation).

The ruling would be applicable to the Republic of Ireland and the UK if they opt to implement the measure, the foreign ministry says.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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