Baltic states to create 'travel bubble'
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will open their borders to each others' citizens from May 15, creating a Baltic "travel bubble" within the European Union amid an easing of pandemic restrictions, their prime ministers said.
The Baltic travel area would be first of its kind in the bloc, where most countries restricted entry to non-nationals and imposed quarantine on incoming travelers as the novel coronavirus spread across the continent.
"We have agreed that all three Baltic states have properly contained the spread of the coronavirus, and we trust each others' health systems," Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernlis wrote on Facebook.
"So, starting from May 15, we are removing all restrictions for citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia traveling between the Baltic states."
People entering the region from other countries will need to self-isolate for 14 days, he added.
The European Commission has recommended that internal border controls between all member states should be lifted in a coordinated manner, once their virus situation converges sufficiently, the commission's office in Lithuania said.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, all major trading partners with each other, are also taking cautious steps to re-open their economies after lockdowns imposed as local outbreaks struck.
Since the start of the pandemic, Lithuania has recorded 48 deaths in the disease, Latvia 17 and Estonia 55, Reuters reported.