Ministry: Travel off for many of those who have had COVID-19

Finnish border control.
Finnish border control. Source: Rain Kooli / ERR

People who suffered from COVID-19 have practically no options for traveling to those European states which require a negative test result, a high-rank official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

"Currently, it is possible to produce either an antibody certificate or a family doctor's certificate proving an individual has had the virus, have it translated into English and attempt to prove things upon arrival at a national border," foreign ministry Undersecretary for European Affairs, Märt Volmer, said.

At present, only six states - along with Estonia - namely Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia, provide the option for arrivals who can prove they have either been vaccinated or have had and recovered from the virus, to enter a state, Volmer said. "Elsewhere, if there is no proof of a negative test, there's a problem," he added.

Upon entering neighboring countries, a negative test has also to be presented as well as the right to enter the state having to be proved.

"Officially, they require both a negative test result and a good reason [for the visit]. But when a person who has suffered from the virus can't provide a negative test for weeks or months, then the only option is to prove immunity at the border," Volmer admitted.

Work migration with Finland is definitely not possible until the end of April, maybe even longer, he said.

Volmer said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Board (Terviseamet) communicate regularly with their Finnish colleagues, in order to create the necessary trust framework for travel.

"As soon as the possibility arises, we try to recoup the opportunities for people to come back to their families," Volmer confirmed. "But at the moment, looking at Estonia's numbers and how the infection rate is increasing in Estonia, then there's not a lot of hope for the next weeks," he noted.

How far Estonia has come in developing a pan-European coronavirus passport, i.e. the creation of a so-called green digital certificate, Volmer said was: "A matter for the future". It can be hoped that the trust network will be completed in May-June, but rather in the second half of the summer.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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