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Paper: Direct flight ban on COVID-19 high-risk countries may be extended

A Ryanair Boeing 737 at Tallinn Airport.
A Ryanair Boeing 737 at Tallinn Airport. Source: ERR

Restrictions on direct flight links with coronavirus high-risk countries may be extended beyond its current expiry date of August 31, daily Postimees reported on Monday. The restrictions already see direct links with Denmark, France and Cyprus canceled for the rest of this week at least.

"Looking at the growing number of new coronavirus cases abroad in recent weeks, I am not too optimistic that we can end the restriction this month," Minister of Economic Affairs Taavi Aas (Center) told Postimees (link in Estonian).

The limit was imposed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications on May 18, the day after the government's emergency situation, imposed in response to the pandemic, ended, and was set to run to the end of this month.

It sets a ceiling of 25 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the preceding 14 days; countries whose reported rates are higher – for instance currently Ukraine – will see direct air links to and from Estonia forbidden.

Other countries whose rates recently exceeded the limit are France, Denmark and Cyprus. As a result, budget Latvian carrier airBaltic direct flights between Tallinn and Copenhagen, and Tallinn and Paris, have been canceled for this week. Similarly, Irish airline Ryanair has had to cancel its link to Paphos, Cyprus.

Reform MEP: Restriction harms Estonia

Reform MEP Urmas Paet has hit out at the restrictions, saying banning flights is pointless and harms the country, its people, and the airline business.

"The fact is that the existence of an air connection is neither an obstruction nor a facilitator of the spread of the virus. It (i.e. the restriction - ed.) is also particularly foolish."


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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