Baltic states to open common borders from 15 May

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Baltic states to open common borders from 15 May

The leaders of the three Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have agreed a plan to open their borders to each other from 15 May.

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said the move was possible due to “the successful containment of Covid-19 across the Baltics”.

Citizens arriving from other countries to the Baltic states, including other members of the EU, will still have to obey a 14-day self-isolation process, however. The Baltic announcement in effect crates a mini-Schengen zone of around six million people.

Lithuania has been leading the European Union states in terms of coronavirus tests per 100,000 people and the government in Vilnius allowed all retail shops to reopen on 7 May, provided they can ensure safety requirements. Outdoor cafes, hairdressers and some other businesses are set to resume operations starting 11 May.

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas confirmed the deal had been done over a video conference, and described the move as “a big step back towards returning to normal life”.

The Foreign Ministers of the Baltic States have been instructed to agree on the practical steps to lift the current restrictions.

Photo courtesy of Cabinet of Ministers

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