Estonia-UK travel ban to remain in place until end of 2020

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Travelers at Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will meet on Wednesday to agree on common travel restrictions with Great Britain but the flight ban will remain in force until the end of the year, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said.

Reinsalu said it is planned to impose stricter self-isolation requirements for those arriving from Great Britain from Wednesday (December 23). 

The current rules allow people to return to work after a negative test on arrival and then a retest on day seven, but for British people it will be changed so they must quarantine for the initial seven days and can only stop after a second negative test.

An alternative to testing will be 14 days of self-isolation instead of 10.

The three Baltic states are also planning an evacuation flight for their citizens from London to Riga for people who are trapped in the U.K or have an extraordinary reason to return. It is not intended for those who only want to return for the Christmas holidays.

Reinsalu said a list of those wishing to return is currently being compiled and there are hundreds of people in Great Britain.

The flight ban was introduced on Sunday after the British government announced a new more infections strain of the coronavirus had been discovered. Estonia was one of 40 countries, including Latvia and Lithuania, which introduced a ban. 

The ban is inforce and suspends travel both to and from the UK to Estonia until December 31.

On Monday, Reinsalu said there would be no special flights to bring Estonians back.

On Tuesday, the EU advised all countries to lift their travel bans with the United Kingdom, but it is up to each country to make the final decision.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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