Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Estonian authorities extend emergency situation and constituent restrictions through at least May 17 to stem the spread of COVID-19.
This alert affects Estonia
This alert began 27 Apr 2020 09:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 18 May 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Health, travel restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Date: Through at least May 17
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions
Estonian authorities have extended the current emergency situation, initially declared March 12, through at least May 17 as part of the effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. The emergency situation was due to expire May 1. Restrictions in force under the extended emergency situation include:
- Ban on gatherings of more than two people.
- Closure of cultural, leisure, and entertainment establishments.
- Shopping centers closed except for essential businesses operating within them.
- Food and drink establishments must close from 2200.
The reintroduction of border controls introduced as part of the emergency situation is also extended through at least May 17. Authorities are conducting health screenings on all travelers and barring entry for most foreign nationals, excluding foreign residents or those with family members in Estonia, and some cross-border workers. All arrivals are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation order. The restrictions do not apply to freight transport. Additionally, authorities have limited travel to and from Estonia's Western Islands to residents and are instructing residents to avoid all nonessential travel outside the home.
All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.
Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Estonian government correspond with similar actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.