Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) announced late on Thursday that Estonia had increased the coronavirus case limit for travelers from Finland and the Baltics to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, beyond which quarantine is required upon arrival in Estonia.
Estonia increased the coronavirus case rate ceiling for travelers arriving from Finland and the Baltics, as did Finland and Lithuania, easing travel opportunities for the neighboring countries.
Latvia, which has a notably lower COVID-19 rate than the other nations, has decided to stay out of the "travel bubble" for now, keeping its limit at 16 per 100,000, but does not rule out changes in the future.
Reinsalu announced: "Estonia will establish a new limit number of 25 for travelers coming from Finland, Latvia and Lithuania, because there are trust measures established with those countries.
"Presumably, taking into consideration coronavirus infection numbers in Estonia for tomorrow (Friday - ed.), quarantine will be required for travelers from Estonia going to Latvia, excluding residents of Valga, transit travelers and workers," the foreign minister added.
Reinsalu acknowledged diplomats and health experts for theri work: "As of right now, free movement will remain for travel to Finland and Lithuania and Latvia. Thankyou to the governments of Lithuania and Finland for a decision in a situation where Estonia's case rate is higher than in other countries."
As of Thursday, September 10, the infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days in Estonia is 20.69.
The minister also acknowledged Latvia for the exemptions made on Estonia's southern border and said Latvia is welcome to join the new region, consisting of Finland, Estonia and Lithuania.
The government's announcement can be read here in Estonian. An official English translation will be published at a later date.
Latvia faces difficult decision
Latvian Minister for Health Ilze Vinkele told Latvian Television (Latvijas Televizija) on Thursday that the country is facing a difficult decision. The government must likely decide on further steps by Tuesday of next week.
Vinkele did not respond to a question about the government deciding to up its coronavirus rate limit, but did note that retaining the current limit is becoming harder by the day.
According to Ragnar Kond, ERR's correspondent in Latvia, the Latvian Ministry for Health finds that while 16 per 100,000 people is not a scientifically proven number, it has brought great success to Latvia and there is no reason to disturb the currently working system.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste