Foreigners arriving from third countries must now get tested before arrival

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Coronavirus testing kit. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government on Thursday made a decision in principle, according to which foreigners from high-risk countries outside the European Union can enter Estonia only if they get tested for coronavirus before arriving in Estonia and the test result is negative.

According to the agreement, getting tested before arriving in Estonia will become mandatory for all foreigners who come to Estonia from third countries with a high risk of infection and who have not completed the COVID-19 vaccination course, government spokespeople said.

The existing exceptions to whom the obligation to self-isolate or get tested upon arrival in Estonia does not apply remain. These include, for example, diplomats and drivers of international freight. It is recommended, but not mandatory, for Estonian residents to get tested prior to arrival.

The changes are in addition to the current procedure, according to which a person arriving in Estonia from a country with a high risk of infection who has not been vaccinated or has caught and recovered from COVID-19 must remain in self-isolation for 10 days. The isolation time can be shortened with two negative PCR tests, the first of which can be performed up to 72 hours before or immediately after arriving in Estonia and the second not earlier than on the sixth day after the first test.

In addition, the government agreed that upon arrival in Estonia from countries with a high risk of infection, a rapid antigen test will be accepted alongside the PCR test. If the result of the initial rapid test is negative, a PCR test must be performed on the sixth day to shorten the isolation period.

These are decisions in principle made at a government Cabinet meeting. Amendments to the government order will be prepared and approved next week.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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