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Estonia wants single movement space between Baltics, Finland to be restored

Estonia wishes for the single space of movement made up of the Baltic countries and Finland to be restored, as the COVID-19 related epidemiological situation in the region is similar and a single movement space will enable to keep life in the region as normal as possible, informs LETA/BNS.

The recommendation to travel only in the case or urgent necessity remains valid, and is especially topical considering the upcoming school break.

"With the decision of the government we wish to ensure that essential normal life will be preserved in the region, along with the possibility to travel in case of unavoidable need. In the spring, extended Baltic cooperation justified itself very well and we wish also now to make uniform a regional approach that would help our countries and people come through the international COVID-19 pandemic more smoothly," Estonia's Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said.

"It's evident that it makes sense postponing travel abroad for the purpose of tourism now. At the same time, our countries and people are intertwined both by human connections as well as close economic ties and it's essential to create a framework for those important ties not to be broken," he said.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu described restoring regional cooperation as very important in the present situation. "Today, each of the Baltic countries and Finland have a model of their own for how the countries will mutually introduce quarantines. As a result, life in the region is getting fragmented, and Estonia is interested in it that cooperation between our countries would start again," he said.

"Estonia wishes to be the frontrunner here and to introduce an exception for travel within the region that would not disrupt essential day-to-day relations between our countries on the level of the people," Reinsalu said. 

Under a decision adopted by the Estonian government on Thursday, it will be possible to arrive in Estonia from Latvia, Lithuania or Finland without the self-isolation requirement in situations where the infection rate in the country from which the person arrives is higher than 1.1 times the Estonian average or over 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants if the person has taken a  coronavirus test 48 hours prior to arrival in Estonia and the result of the test is negative. Such individuals must not have traveled beyond the Baltic countries and Finland in the previous two weeks. 

When traveling from Estonia to Latvia, Lithuania or Finland, and returning to Estonia, the coronavirus test can be taken also in Estonia and, in the case of a negative test result, the person can return to normal life. The person must remain in self-isolation until the test result is received.

To arrivals from Latvia, Lithuania and Finland the exception also continues to apply whereby people without symptoms do not have to self-isolate or take a test in five cases: if they arrive in Estonia for work, study, to visit a healthcare institution, for unavoidable family reasons, of for transit. 

(Source: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/baltic_states/?doc=160063)

16.10.2020

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