Travelers from three countries can skip quarantine on arrival from Friday

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Coronavirus testing at Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Travelers from three countries do not need to quarantine on arrival to Estonia from Friday after the government raised the coronavirus infection rate limit. Changes to coronavirus testing have also come in to effect.

The infection rate limit for a "safe country" has been raised to 150 per 100,000 inhabitants in a two weeks period and arrivals traveling to Estonia from those countries do not need to quarantine. As of Friday, countries which fall below that threshold are Finland, Greece and Iceland.

From Friday (January 15), a 10-day restriction on freedom of movement will apply to those coming from a European Union, European Economic Area or Schengen area country with an infection rate of more than 150 per 100,000 inhabitants. 

This means from January 15 to 24, restrictions on freedom of movement will apply to: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, the Netherlands, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, France, Sweden, Romania, Germany, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary. 

The Vatican's rate is 0, but taking a flight from Italy incurs a 10-day restriction on freedom of movement. 

There are still exemptions in place for travelers from Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

The restriction on the freedom of movement does not apply to asymptomatic people traveling from Lithuania, Latvia or Finland in the past 14 days and have arrived in Estonia directly from Lithuania, Latvia or Finland with the following preconditions:

(1) The individual has taken a coronavirus test within 48 hours before their arrival in Estonia and the result is negative. When traveling to these countries from Estonia and returning to Estonia, it is possible to take the coronavirus test in Estonia, and return to normal life, i.e. without any quarantine requirement, in the case of a negative result. Individuals must remain in quarantine while awaiting COVID-19 test results.

(2) The individual arrives in Estonia for the purpose of working, studying or receiving health services, for family reasons or transit. When traveling to Estonia for these reasons listed above, it is not mandatory or required to take a coronavirus test before arriving in the country.

24 hours before arrival, travelers can fill out an online passenger declaration form, if not, this must be done by hand at arrivals.

New testing procedure 

From Friday, upon arrival in Estonia, a new procedure will also apply to shorten the period of self-isolation:

1) People who do not wish to be in self-isolation 10 days after arriving in Estonia may perform a coronavirus PCR test abroad, up to 72 hours before arrival in Estonia. A test can then be performed six days after the original test taken aboard. If both are negative, self-isolation can stop.

2) People who have not been test before arrival in Estonia may take the first test in Estonia immediately upon arrival in the country and the second test not earlier than six days after the first test. The 10 day self-isolation period can be ended early if both tests are negative.

Only tests analyzing RNA by PCR are accepted. An extract from the test result must be in the Latin or Slavic alphabet, in Estonian, Russian or English and must indicate the place, time, performer and details of the test, test methodology (PCR) and test result. To register for the second test, border crossers can contact the Public Testing Call Center on 6780000.

Arrivals from the UK

Since January 1, travelers arriving from the UK will need to present a negative COVID-19 test carried out no later than 72 hours before arrival. If this is not possible, then UK arrivals must be tested on arrival. For arrivals from other counties, this is only voluntary. No test is required from children under 10 years of age.

These regulations also apply to passengers transiting through the United Kingdom on their way to Estonia.

Passengers coming from the United Kingdom must still self-isolate for 14 days after the arrival. The 14-day self-isolation period may be shortened if the person takes another test on the seventh day after arrival and if both tests are negative.

The end of the transition period of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union also affects travel. 

Restrictions on arrivals from third countries

Based on the list of third countries recommended by the Council of the European Union, it is possible to travel to Estonia: from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand. 

The 10-day self-isolation period applies to countries with an infection rate of more than 16 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days which includes arrivals from South Korea and Japan.

What does quarantine mean?

This means that within 14 calendar days of their arrival in Estonia, people must refrain from unnecessary contacts and can leave their place of residence or permanent accommodation only for seeing a doctor and shopping for food, essentials and medicines, or in emergencies.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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