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Latvia: Coronavirus limits won't radically change border patrol duties

Latvian/Estonian border.
Latvian/Estonian border. Source: ERR

Latvia's travel restriction imposed from midnight Friday will not be accompanied by any change in normal police or border guard work, with no special raids or checks in the offing, the authorities say. Vehicle checks and spot checks can occur, but full border controls are not to be installed.

After Estonia's reported coroanvirus rate per 100,000 people exceeded Latvia's ceiling of 16, for the preceding 14 days, on Friday, at 21.75, Estonia's southern neighbor burst the Baltic bubble and imposed restrictions, meaning those arriving in Latvia from Estonia must quarantine for two weeks.

Latvian state police (Latvijas Valsts policija) spokeswoman Simona Gravite said that the organization would, as before, check adherence to the government's coronavirus regulation.

The authority will cooperate with the Latvian border guard (Valsts Robežsardze), a separate body, that arrivals in Latvia continue to follow coronavirus regulations once inside the country, with the border guard issuing certificates to that effect, though only from those using international transport services (such as a bus).

The police will not conduct special or specific raids or checks, she said, while a spokesperson for Latvia's border guard told BNS that they have not been instructed to restore full border checks on the frontier.

While Estonia raised its rate at which quarantining requirements kick in to 25 per 100,000 Friday, with Finland mulling doing same, Latvia says it will not be following suit.

General border checks between Estonia and Latvia ended over 10 years ago when both countries joined the Schengen Area of free movement; the current Latvian regulations come with several exceptions, including compassionate exemptions to attend funerals or seek medical hep quarantine-free, and permission for residents of the twin towns of Valga (Estonia) and Valka (Latvia) to move freely between each others' municipalities, bisected by the national border itself.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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