Baltic countries to reopen internal borders from 15 May
Wednesday, 06 May 2020
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Credit: Pixabay
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will lift travel restrictions between them and establish a common free movement zone as of 15 May, the countries announced on Wednesday.
The three Baltic countries made this decision following the slowing of the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
“As of 15 May, we are lifting restrictions on Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian citizens travelling between the Baltic countries,” said Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in a statement issued after talks with Latvia and Estonia.
All three governments said the infection rate (the number of new people someone with coronavirus infects) had fallen sufficiently to restore free movement and remove the mandatory 14-day quarantine for citizens of their countries.
Latvian President Egils Levits said that the Baltic countries may invite Poland and Finland to join their zone in the near future.
With the aim of “restoring normality in Europe”, “perhaps we will be able to create a larger area of north-eastern Europe, including Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland,” Levits told AFP.
Lithuania closed its borders to most foreign visitors, while Estonia and Latvia imposed their own measures in mid-March to contain the pandemic.
The number of new cases has fallen in the Baltic countries in recent weeks. Authorities in these three countries, which have a total population of six million people, confirmed 4,041 coronavirus cases, including 120 deaths, on Wednesday.