Ministry recommends avoiding foreign travel ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Coronavirus testing at Tallinn Airport.
Coronavirus testing at Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The foreign ministry has advised the public against travel abroad, unless unavoidable, as coronavirus rates across Europe continue to grow. This includes travel to Latvia and Finland.

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) noted that the growth in infection rates in Europe, from an average of 16 per 100,000 inhabitants, to 46 per 100,000, in the past two weeks, means a return to the situation early on in the pandemic in spring, so far as foreign travel grows.

"The recommendation is like the one during the first phase in the spring: Avoid any non-essential travel abroad," said Reinsalu Thursday.

Estonia's own ceiling of 16 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, beyond which travelers arriving from that country must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in Estonia, is exceeded by the majority of European countries at the time of writing.

A notable exception is Latvia, whose reported rate is a little over 4 per 100,000, compared with 14.72  in Estonia. Latvia has said that Estonians entering the country may soon need to quarantine, spelling the end of the so-called "Baltic bubble" of free movement of travel established in Spring.

Reinsalu said that the government of Estonia's southern neighbor is to make a decision on Friday, but to his knowledge the country will not reintroduce mandatory border checks, though spot checks may be conducted.

Finland has issued a universal travel warning against travel which is similar to that in Estonia, and next week will make a decision which could lead to the reintroduction of stricter restrictions, Reinsalu said.

Poland's foreign minister has promised that border closures are not imminent; at the beginning of the pandemic, many Estonian citizens and residents found themselves trapped in Germany en route home over land, a Poland closed its borders a few days ahead of all three Baltic States. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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