Latvia closing border to all EU citizens next week

Latvian checkpoint at the border with Estonia. These had been largely unused between both countries joining the Schengen Area in 2007 and the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. Source: ERR

Latvia is barring European Union citizens, including Estonia's, from crossing its border from next week, Latvian public broadcaster LSM reports, amid rising coronavirus rates.

The rule, which applies to citizens of EU/EEA countries, the U.K. and Switzerland will from Thursday, February 11 be prohibited from entering Latvia, except in exceptional circumstances. The ban is set to run for two weeks, until February 25, as things stand, and follows a decision earlier in the week to extend the state of emergency in Latvia through to April 6.

Those cases where an exemption applies are for work, training, study, medical care, transit, close family ties, accompanying a minor, attending a funeral or traveling to the country with the intention of staying permanently – i.e. returning residents, LSM's English-language page reports.

The above must be self-certified via an e-questionnaire, while all those entering who are not on work duties related to the transport sector must have proof of a negative coronavirus test result, LSM reports.

In addition the police may demand ID documentation, while entering the country via a passenger carrier such as a bus or plane puts the onus on the latter in ensuring this has been done

Latvia is also installing a new coronavirus warning system, is looking at further restrictions, and is continuing the practice of weekend curfews, where residents cannot leave their own home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next morning, without good reason.

The Latvian government's coronavirus page in English is here.

 Latvia's 14-day coronavirus rate per 100,000 inhabitants stood at a reported 583.8 this time last week; Estonia's is 544.03.

Finland, whose recent coronavirus 14-day rates have been running at less than 100 per 100,000 inhabitants, making it one of the least-affected countries in Europe, made the decision last week to reinstate a border regime similar to the one it had in place in the spring coronavirus wave, meaning entry to the country is possible only in the most essential of cases.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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