Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Officials in Latvia modify COVID-19 related-entry requirements Sept. 12; travelers from Estonia to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry.

Alert Begins 11 Sep 2020 06:57 PM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Latvia will add Estonia to the country's list of countries with elevated coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Sept. 12. Travelers arriving from Estonia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, with certain exceptions. Latvians working in Estonia, childcare workers, individuals receiving healthcare in Estonia that is not available in Latvia, persons accompanying special needs individuals, family dependents, or individuals attending funeral services can travel to Estonia and return to Latvia without having to self-isolate upon return. In addition, residents of the border town of Valga/Valka will be allowed to cross the border without restrictions if they have not left the territory of their municipality in the past 14 days.

Any person entering Latvia from a country in which the 14-day cumulative incidence of COVID-19 is greater than 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. As of Sept. 11, nations within the EU and EEA that fall into this category are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Individuals traveling on business must self-isolate outside working hours. However, travelers do not need to self-isolate if they have stayed in a country with a COVID-19 incidence lower than the defined threshold for at least 14 days immediately before entering Latvia. Travel from all other countries is prohibited, except for immediate family members of Latvian nationals, diplomats, individuals in transit, and freight workers. Restrictions remain in place at the borders with Belarus and Russia.

Travelers from EU and EEA nations not listed above may enter Latvia for any reason, including tourism. Moreover, following an EU recommendation, Latvian authorities are permitting entry to travelers from Australia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, and Uruguay without requiring them to self-isolate; travelers from Canada and Tunisia must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Previous measures have allowed most businesses and facilities in Latvia to reopen provided strict hygiene and social-distancing measures are implemented. Face coverings are no longer mandatory in enclosed public spaces but are strongly recommended.

Any restrictions could be reimposed, extended, further eased, or otherwise amended at short notice, depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Advice
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 could 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. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

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.


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