Estonia complied with Baltic bubble agreement - social affairs minister

  • 2020-09-07
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonia has complied with agreement between the three Baltic states regarding the so-called Baltic bubble, and informed Latvia and Lithuania of exceptions made within the state, Estonian Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said.

"Estonia has complied with the agreement to impose a two-week self-isolation requirement on people arriving from at-risk states. Pursuant to the three states' agreement, all parties are allowed to make domestic exceptions to representatives of specific professions or on the basis of special conditions. Thus, we have also launched testing at the airport and port, as proposed by the COVID-19 scientific council, which is also implemented in many European countries," Kiik was quoted by ministry spokespeople as saying.

"An exception has only been made from Sept. 1 to people working in Estonia to enable their faster return to work, and we also informed the other Baltic states of the fact that we're offering such an option," he noted.

The thee states' agreement includes a section enabling the Baltic states to establish special conditions with regard to the 14-day self-isolation requirement for passengers who enter the Baltic states from other EU and third states, the Ministry of Social Affairs said. All three states have used this opportunity. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also made additional special decisions regarding air traffic to ensure the movement options needed by their people.

"The lion's share of anti-coronavirus measures -- such as the organization of testing within the state, provision of health care and social services, organization of cultural life and education, participation restrictions on public events, possible restrictions on alcohol sales, mobile apps geared at curbing the spread of the virus -- will be decided by each individual state, according to the agreement," Kiik said. 

On May 6, the Baltic states agreed to open their borders to one another from May 15. The three states' health ministers agreed in a joint statement that the states' permanent residents will be able to move freely within the Baltics and they will not be subject to 14-day self-isolation or COVID-19 testing requirements provided that they are not required to self-isolate in their home state, have not been in any state outside the Baltics for the past 14 days and do not exhibit any virus symptoms. Self-isolation and testing requirements can be imposed only upon arrival from outside the Baltic states or onset of respiratory disease symptoms.