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Karis' meetings with Latvian and Finnish presidents canceled due to Covid

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President Alar Karis' inauguration on October 11, 2021.
President Alar Karis' inauguration on October 11, 2021. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

President Alar Karis' first meeting with two heads of state has been canceled after Latvian President Egils Levits tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, while Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is isolating.

Latvian national broadcaster LSM reported Levits gave a positive antigen rapid test last night after returning from Sweden. He will take a PCR test today.

The presidents were supposed to meet at Riga Castle today. Instead, Karis met with Saeima Speaker Inara Murniece Thursday morning (see gallery below).

The visit to Latvia was Karis' first foreign trip as president of Estonia.

In the absence of a face-to-face meeting, President Karis had to make do with a phone conversation with the Latvian president, in which he wished Levits a speedy recovery to full help and expressed a hope that the pair would get to meet soon.

In addition to meeting with the Saeima speaker, Karis visited a monument to Estonian writer Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801-1822), who was born in Riga, and was shown the site of the planned Estonian embassy relocation.

Karis was scheduled to meet Finnish President Sauli Niinistö later today until it turned out Niinistö will be isolating after coming into contact with a person infected with the coronavirus. Niinistö was in Malmö at the same time as Levits and the two presidents had breakfast together.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also attended the Holocaust remembrance conference in Sweden where she was photographed standing next to Levits. Kallas is scheduled to visit Latvia on Friday where a meeting with Levits was part of her agenda.

Kaja Kallas and Sauli Niinistö attending a Holocaust remembrance conference in Malmö. Source: Stenbock House/Flickr

Traditionally, a new Estonian head of state makes their first foreign visits to Estonia's close neighbors, Latvia and Finland, to reiterate the continuation of the close relations

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Editor: Helen Wright, Marcus Turovski

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