TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expanding its alert advising against travel to all non-essential visits abroad, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu.
Reinsalu said at the government's press conference on Thursday that the number of coronavirus infections has grown significantly across Europe. He pointed out that while two weeks ago the number of virus carriers per 100,000 residents was 16, the figure has now tripled.
According to statistics by the Health Board as at Sept. 3, the number of COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents is 16.1 in Estonia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that due to said rate, states may impose additional restrictions on passengers arriving from Estonia.
With regard to essential travel, the Foreign Ministry recommends to check regulations for Estonian citizens on the website of the relevant authority of their destination state, register one's trip on the website https://reisitargalt.vm.ee/ and monitor the situation and restrictions at their destination.
Reinsalu said that the Foreign Ministry is expanding its travel alert and now advises against all non-essential international travel.
Commenting on the future of the so-called "Baltic bubble", the minister noted that Estonia has made a proposal to maintain it; however, the Latvian government has taken the opposite position and will impose a two-week quarantine requirement to people arriving from Estonia.
Border control will not be restored, but Reinsalu said that Latvia is planning to introduce random border inspections.
The minister noted that Estonia wishes that Estonians working in Latvia and vice versa should not be made subject to the quarantine requirement, that transit through Latvia should be maintained and that the movement of people should be retained at the highest possible level in densely populated border areas, particularly in the twin border towns of Valga and Valka. Reinsalu expressed hope that the issue can by clarified on Friday.
Estonia also needs to be prepared for the possibility of restrictions being introduced with Finland, he said.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian government will make its decision regarding cross-border travel with the Baltic states at an extraordinary sitting on Friday. If Estonia's infection rate exceeds 16 on Friday, a self-isolation requirement will be imposed on passengers from Estonia upon their entry to Latvia from midnight on Saturday. They will also be required to fill in a health certificate. Detailed conditions, including those regarding transit through Latvia by land or through Riga airport will be announced following the Latvian government's extraordinary sitting.