Coronavirus: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to ease restrictions

New infections have slowed to a trickle in these Baltic nations.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia opened their borders to each others’ citizens from May 15, creating a Baltic “travel bubble” within the European Union amid an easing of pandemic restrictions, their prime ministers said.
Citizens from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are free to travel between the countries.

“It’s a big step towards life as normal,” Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas wrote on Twitter.

The Baltic travel area be first of its kind in the bloc, where most countries restricted entry to non-nationals and imposed quarantine on incoming travellers as the coronavirus spread across the continent.

Citizens of the three countries are free to travel within the region, but anyone entering from outside will need to self-isolate for 14 days, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said.

“We showed a good example by stating, very clearly, that only countries which successfully dealt with the situation can open themselves up,” he added.

The European Commission has recommended that internal border controls between all member states should be lifted in a coordinated manner, once their virus situation converges sufficiently, the commission’s office in Lithuania said.

Moves to selectively open borders have emerged elsewhere. Australia and New Zealand are working towards resuming travel between the two countries.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, all major trading partners, are also taking cautious steps to re-open their economies.

“This is a very important stimulus for regional tourism businesses. It will not get them back to where they were, but many jobs will be saved,” said Žydrė Gavelienė, head of a tourism lobby group in Lithuania.


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