Resumed travel within Baltics would not pose huge risks - epidemiologist

  • 2020-05-06
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Various European countries are still showing mixed results in containing the Covid-19 pandemic, but in the Baltic states the coronavirus is spreading at an even rate, therefore resumed travel within the three countries would not pose huge epidemiological risks, Jurijs Perevoscikovs, head of the Infectious Disease Risk Analysis and Prevention Department at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told LETA. 

The expert believes that as the Baltic states' inner borders reopen, travelers would have to be required to self-isolate for 14 days after crossing the border. It would also be necessary to assess factors like travelers' countries of origin. For example, a resident of Latvia traveling to Lithuania would pose a lower infection risk than someone from a third country traveling through the Baltics. 

Commenting on Covid-19 tests as a mandatory requirement for travel, Perevoscikovs said that this would not safeguard against the spread of the virus because a traveler infected with the virus but not yet showing symptoms could still test negative for the disease. 

"If the test shows a negative result, where would be the guarantee that the symptoms do not appear in the next few days?" the expert said, indicating that such measures would not provide 100 percent safety. 

Stressing the complexity of the travel issue, Perevoscikovs said that one thing Latvia does not need is "new Covid-19 cases from abroad".

As reported,  the Baltic states plan to open their internal borders on May 15 for the free movement of residents of the three countries, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) wrote in his Twitter account today.

During a video conference today, Karins, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas agreed to open their internal borders from May 15 for the free movement of the residents of the three countries.

At the same time, Karins also added that person arriving from any other country will have to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.