Latvia bursts Baltic travel bubble as COVID19 cases surge

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Latvia on Friday restricted the entry conditions applying to people coming from Estonia, bursting a a travel bubble that had allowed individuals to move freely within the three-country Baltic region amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry said that starting Saturday, new rules will require travelers coming from Estonia to self-quarantine for two weeks. The ministry cited the increased virus infection rate in the neighboring country.

An exception will apply to truck drivers, diplomats and others who need to cross the border for work to skip the self-quarantine with proof of employment.

On May 15, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia lifted their pandemic travel restrictions on each other, creating the Baltic bubble.

Citizens from these countries were allowed to travel freely across the three Baltic states without self-isolating upon crossing internal borders, provided that they had not been outside the Baltic states in the previous 14 days, they were not already required to be quarantined and had no symptoms of respiratory illness.

It became the first such travel zone within the 27-member European Union during the pandemic in a bid to jump-start national economies. All three nations are EU members.

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