Economy ministry bans flights to seven high coronavirus risk countries in Europe

Tallinn Airport.

PHOTO: Sander Ilvest

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas signed an order on Sunday that forbids direct flights between Estonia and Belarus, Belgium,  Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom starting from Monday due to the high risk of coronavirus infection in those countries.

“In order to stop the spread of the virus, we can first open air links with countries where the spread of the virus is sufficiently low based on statistics for the past 14 days. For the sake of clarity, I would like to emphasize that even though we are banning flights also to Denmark at the moment, according to forecasts, the epidemiological situation there may have improved enough already in the next few days to enable flights to that country to be resumed,” Aas said according to spokespeople for the ministry. 

The criterion based on which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications allows flights is that the case rate of the virus in the destination country cannot exceed 25 cases per 100,000 residents for the past 14 days. The ministry reviews the epidemiological situation in the countries of destination every day and will open flights or restrict the opening of flights in accordance with the spread of the virus.

As at Monday, it will probably be possible to open air services without restrictions to Germany, Poland, Norway, Austria, Latvia and Lithuania. At the same time, the potential opening of routes also depends on the rules valid in the country of destination. Just like in Estonia, restrictions on entry apply in other countries which people should take into account when planning their travel.

The list of countries to which air services are forbidden published on Sunday will be valid from May 18 to June 7, after which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Health Board will review the need for the restrictions. By way of exception, the restriction concerning the Minsk-Tallinn service steps into force from May 24, as people are expected to be returning home via Minsk until May 23.

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