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NCCL invites adding Norway to the Free Travel Area

29 May 2020

On May 20, NCCL sent a letter to Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Transport requesting to add Norway to the "Baltic Bubble", by permitting regular air traffic between Latvia and Norway past the currently approved air traffic from May 18 and June 9. The letter also requested to lift or shorten the 14-day quarantine requirement for business travelers arriving from Norway in Latvia.


Last week, a response from Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs, dated May 26, notified that further removal of travel restrictions will be based on medical expert advice and will be coordinated with other Baltic countries, which have already opened borders for internal travel. The letter also stated a quarantine waiver program has been put in place since May 16 for a selected group of business travelers, who do not show symptoms of respiratory infections. To find out more and apply for the waiver, go to LIAA's webpage.

Last Wednesday, Lithuania announced gradual opening of the country's borders to people from other countries in the European Economic Area (as well as Switzerland and the UK) with low coronavirus infection rates (fewer than 25 new Covid-19 cases per population of 100,000 over the previous two weeks).

Last Friday, Estonia announced that it will admit persons with no COVID-19 symptoms from the EU, the Schengen countries, and the UK and lift the 14-day quarantine obligation for persons entering from countries where the relative coronavirus infection rate is below 15 or less per 100 000 inhabitants in the past two weeks.

As the other two Baltic countries have announced easing travel restrictions from countries that meet certain criteria, NCCL invites the Latvian government to safely add to the list of free travel area Norway, which has managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, to the list of countries, with whom the quarantine requirement would be lifted.

Norway similarly to the Baltic countries has managed to gain control over the spread of the COVID-19. Over the past ten days the number of new confirmed cases has been under 25 per day for Norway's population of 5,37 million.

Norway is an important trade partner and the 8th biggest foreign investor in Latvia whose investments in Latvia are worth more than 325 million EUR. There are currently 260 Norwegian companies registered in Latvia, giving work to more 6500 people in Latvia. In 2018, these companies paid more than 281 million in taxes to the Latvian state. Renewing passenger travel between the two countries is essential to allow these businesses to continue their operations, fulfill their contractual obligations, and overcome the crisis.

 

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