Estonia bans flights from six countries

Airlines plan to gradually to resume their flights to Estonia. However, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs has banned scheduled flights from Sweden, the UK, Belgium, Turkey, Russia and Belarus - countries where the government believes there is a high risk of Covid-19 infection. Estonian media are incensed by the decision.

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Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Absurd ban cutting us off from rest of world

Writing in Eesti Päevaleht, commentator Raimo Poom finds the Economic Minister's decision utterly ridiculous:

“Of the connections that continued to operate throughout the epidemic only those to Minsk will be cancelled. It was the only one that remained in operation the whole time, apart from the connection to Frankfurt. What has changed now? The Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt is not just a connection with Germany but serves mainly for transit. Consequently Belarusians, who Minister Aas banned from entering the country, can now fly to Tallinn via Frankfurt. And the same goes for Danes, Swedes, Belgians, Turks and Brits. What is more important, reopening flight routes or bans? I say the former - so Estonia is not cut off from the world even more than it is already with absurd bans.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

Is this about business interests?

Õhtuleht also sees the ban as grotesque and suspects it is an attempt to put the Estonian airline Nordica at an advantage against Latvia's Air Baltic:

“In preparing to exit the corona crisis, most countries consider opening international air traffic to be a key issue. ... Quarantine has helped prevent the virus from spreading and now the free movement of people and goods is necessary to get the economy up and running again. So it's surprising that our Ministry of Economic Affairs is dampening the airlines' eagerness to fly again. Air Baltic, which had been planning to fly out of Tallinn again this week and had written permission to do so, was disappointed. Yet at the same time the high infection rate in Sweden is not preventing our Nordica from flying [a special flight] to Stockholm.”