Government to address situation with Covid-19 restrictions in border areas at an extraordinary meeting this Friday

  • 2020-09-03
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - An extraordinary Cabinet meeting has been called this Friday at which the government is expected to address the situation with Covid-19 restrictions in Latvia's border areas. 

The Cabinet meeting's agenda includes draft amendments to the regulations on the epidemiological safety measures for the containment of Covid-19, announced by Interior Minister Sandis Girgens (KPV LV).  

The content of the draft amendments has not been released yet, but information provided at the September 2 government meeting suggests that free movement of people across the Baltic states' internal borders might soon be restricted again. 

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia lifted their travel restrictions in May, enabling free movement of people within the three Baltic states, thus creating the "Baltic Bubble". Citizens and residents of the Baltic states were allowed to travel within the "Baltic Bubble" without self-isolating upon crossing the internal borders, provided that they had not been outside the Baltic states in the past 14 days, that they were not in self-isolation already and had no symptoms of respiratory illness.

According to the latest data released by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,00 population has now reached 16.53 in Lithuania, 15.7 in Estonia and 4.17 in Latvia. 

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) warned at Wednesday's government meeting that as Covid-19 cases in Lithuania and Estonia continue to rise, the so-called "Baltic Bubble" will cease to exist as of this Friday.

Karins also said that Latvia would not make an exception for Lithuania and Estonia if they end up on Latvia's list of countries arrivals from which are required to self-isolate for 14 days. "We do not see any reason to change this course, which so far has been working so well," the premier said.

In light of the new restrictions, the government will have to decide how to deal with the situation in such closely connected border areas like Valka in Latvia and Valga in Estonia.