List of countries whose arrivals don't need to quarantine grows to five

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Travellers at Tallinn Aiport filling in a coronavirus questionnaire. Source: ERR / Johannes Tralla

From Monday, January 25, travelers from Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Iceland and Norway do not need to quarantine on arrival from Estonia. Arrivals from all other European nations still need to quarantine, for 10 days, or 14 days in the case of the United Kingdom.

The 10-day quarantine period applies to arrivals from all EU/EEA and Schengen Area states which have a reported 14-day coronavirus rate of over 150 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The list of countries whose travelers have this requirement (in bold), together with their 14-day COVID-19 rate, is as follows:

    • Andorra 1169.6
    • Austria 299.6
    • Belgium 248.3
    • Bulgaria 125.2
    • Croatia 298.6
    • Czech Republic 1362.8 
    • Cyprus 570.2
    • Denmark 364.9
    • Finland 61.9*
    • France 380.9
    • Germany 319.4
    • Greece 79.3
    • Hungary 244.1
    • Iceland 60.5
    • Ireland 1444.4
    • Italy 374.1
    • Latvia 685.8*
    • Liechtenstein 450.8
    • Lithuania 716.0*
    • Luxembourg 314.9
    • Malta 509.0
    • Monaco 900.7
    • Netherlands 555.4
    • Norway 148.9
    • Poland 305.4
    • Portugal 1215.2
    • Romania 281.9
    • San Marino 853.3
    • Slovakia 665.7
    • Slovenia 1133.3
    • Spain 804.5
    • Sweden 669.0
    • Switzerland 442.5
    • United Kingdom 1112.1***
    • Vatican 0.0** 

*Based on Order No 282 of the Government of Estonia. the restriction on the freedom of movement does not apply to asymptomatic people who have been on the territory of Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia in the past 10 days and have arrived to Estonia directly from Lithuania or Latvia with the following preconditions.

1) The person has taken a coronavirus test no earlier than 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia and the result is negative, or they have taken the test immediately after their arrival in Estonia and the result is negative. The passenger is required to remain in isolation while waiting for the test result.

(2) They arrive in Estonia for the purpose of working, studying or receiving health services or for family reasons or transit. When travelling to Estonia for the reasons listed above, it is not required to take a coronavirus test before arriving in Estonia.

**The infection rate of the Vatican is 0 but anyone travelling to Estonia from there through Italy is subject to the 10-day restriction on the freedom of movement.

***Since January 1 2021, arrivals from the U.K., even if only in transit through that country, have been required to provide proof of passing negative on a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, with a 10-day quarantine period still following (which can be shortened by passing negative on a second COVID-19 test seven days after arrival). Children under 12 are exempt from this requirement.

Requirements for reducing quarantine times

From January 15 2021, the rules on reducing quarantine lengths for arrivals from an EU/EEA/Schengen Area country have been, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  1.  Anyone unwilling to self-isolate for 10 days after their arrival in Estonia can take a PCR test abroad no earlier than 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia. While in Estonia, a second test can be taken no earlier than on the sixth day after the first test. The 10-day isolation period can be concluded earlier if both tests are negative.
  2. Anyone who has not taken a test up to 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia can take one immediately after their arrival and the second test no earlier than six days after their first test. The 10-day isolation period can be concluded earlier if both tests are negative.

The period of self-isolation can be reduced only if the passenger presents a PCR test for determining RNA count and can prove they have taken the test and the result is negative. A transcript of test results must be transcribed in either the Roman or Cyrillic alphabets in Estonian, Russian or English, and must state the location and time of the test, who took the test and their details, as well as the method (PCR) and result of the test. For booking a second test, passengers can contact the call centre for public testing (678,0000). Details about testing are available here

Arrivals from outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Schengen area  

On December 17, the Council of the European Union reviewed the list of third countries included in Annex 1 of its recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU*, and according to this list, it is possible to travel to Estonia from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand, Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

A 10-day self-isolation is mandatory for passengers arriving from countries with an infection rate above 16 people per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days, i.e. passengers arriving from Japan, South Korea and Rwanda.

* Press release on the reviewed list of countries included in Annex 1 of the recommendation of the Council of the European Union

Anyone arriving in Estonia for the purpose of work or studying at an educational institution registered in Estonia from a third country not included in Annex 1 of the recommendation of the Council of the European Union is subject to the 10-day mandatory self-isolation, and they must take a coronavirus test immediately after arriving in Estonia and a second test no earlier than six days after the first test. Testing does not grant the right to stop self-isolating before the mandatory period ends. 

Information about countries and restrictions on movement is reviewed on a weekly basis and published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommendations 

Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against any non-essential international travel.

In those cases where travel is unavoidable, the foreign ministry recommends (direct quote from the ministry):

  •  "Before planning your trip, consulting the ministry website for the infection rate in the planned country of destination;
  • For information about restrictions in your destination, please consult the Reisi Targalt website, the EU's ReOpen portal, or contact the representation of the country for more details;
  • Register your trip at the Foreign Ministry's Reisi Targalt website to allow us to notify you of possible travel restrictions;
  • Follow the recommendations of the Health Board (Terviseamet) for a safe flight; if you show symptoms, please postpone your trip and contact your GP;
  • Take out travel insurance and carefully read the conditions of your insurance (including for travel interruptions caused by COVID-19);
  • when crossing the border, you must fill out a declaration, which can be done electronically. The declaration can be completed 24 hours before arriving in Estonia; Make sure to keep the confirmation email you will receive after you have completed the form. The declaration can still be filled out on paper; it is available here.
  • at your destination, follow the instructions of local authorities and keep up to date with possible new restrictions;
  • on your return, follow the rules introduced in Estonia, and if you suspect you have been infected with the virus, contact your GP."

The ministry says it: "Would like to highlight that countries can change their conditions for entry and stay at short notice. We recommend contacting the representation or the relevant authorities of your destination country for more detailed information about the conditions that apply there."

A national helpline is available 1247 (+372 600 1247 when calling from abroad) for additional information on the coronavirus and restriction on the freedom of movement. Please note this line now provides general help information inside Estonia as well, including on road traffic and environmental matters, whereas it had previously covered just COVID-19 issues.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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