Lithuania wants Latvia and Estonia to raise the threshold within the so-called Baltic bubble that triggers the requirement for arrivals to self-isolate to 25 coronavirus cases per population of 100,000, from the existing 16, Lithuanian Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga told a press conference on Thursday.
"We will do everything from our side to preserve that bubble, and we have already submitted proposals to both the Latvians and Estonians to renounce the 16 rate and move on to the 25 rate for that bubble to be preserved, all the more so, discussion on similar rate are ongoing in Europe, not only in the Baltic states," he said.
Veryga noted that the new threshold would apply to all travelers among the states, not only people from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
If the Baltic bubble bursts, Latvia could introduce restrictions not only for Lithuania but also for Estonia where the situation is worse, the health minister said.
"But we will try in any case to find possibilities, exceptions, for our citizens to be able to travel there and their citizens to come to our country, so that we could have more relaxed conditions. But we do hope to agree on the 25 rate and then the problem would be gone," Veryga said.
Last week, both Lithuania and Estonia narrowly avoided restrictions being implemented on them by Latvia after the dropped just below the 16 per 100,000 threshold. Today, Estonia's figure is 20.69 and new restrictions will be announced on Friday.
The 'Baltic Bubble' was introduced in May when the three countries had similar infection rates and allowed free movement to continue when many other European countries had closed their borders.
Editor: Helen Wright