New quarantine rules introduced for travelers from Baltic states, Finland
From Monday (October 19), travelers from Latvia, Lithuania and Finland do not have to self isolate on arrival to Estonia if they have a negative coronavirus test and are coming for unavoidable reasons.
In situations where the infection rate of countries is higher than 1.1x the Estonian average, or above 50, a person is allowed to come to Estonia from Latvia, Lithuania or Finland without the self-isolation obligation, if the person has taken a coronavirus test within 48 hours before arriving in Estonia, and the result of the test has been negative.
The person must not have travelled outside the Baltic states or Finland in the past two weeks.
When travelling from Estonia to Latvia, Lithuania or Finland, and returning to Estonia, a person may take the coronavirus test in the home country as well, and in the event of a negative result, they may return to their normal life. Until the test result is known, a person must remain in self-isolation.
This applies in five cases: Coming to Estonia to work, study, visit a health care institution, in the case of unavoidable family events, or for the purpose of transit.
Estonia has made the changes as it wants to restore freedom of movement as much as possible with the Baltic states and Finland. As the epidemiological situation across the region is similar this creates an opportunity to keep life as normal as possible, the government said on Friday.
However, the recommendation is still to only travel in unavoidable circumstances.
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said: "It is clear that right now, it is reasonable to postpone travelling abroad for the purpose of tourism. At the same time, our countries and nations are intertwined in terms of human relationships and economic relations, and it is important to create a framework so that these important relations are not severed."
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said it is very important to revive regional cooperation.
"Today, each Baltic state and Finland has their separate model on how countries impose quarantines against one another. For this reason, life in the region is becoming fragmented, and Estonia's interest is to restart cooperation between our countries," he said.
"Estonia wishes to be the leader here and to establish an exception for travelling in the region that would not interrupt the inevitable everyday relations on a human level."
In recent weeks, Reinsalu has made efforts to establish the "Baltic bubble" which maintained freedom of movement between Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia from May until September.
Latvia imposed restrictions after coronavirus infection rates rose above 25 per 100,000 inhabitants in Estonia and Lithuania but remained below in Latvia.
Travelers to Estonia are advised to download the coronavirus notification app HOIA and keep it installed for two weeks after they leave the country.
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Editor: Helen Wright