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Baltic States Launch EU’s First ‘Travel Bubble’ Allowing Free Movement

Riga, Latvia

One by one countries in Europe are creating travel clusters in hopes of salvaging their tourist sectors and their economies. The latest is the creation of a so-called “travel bubble” or corridor among Baltic countries which opened their borders on Thursday, lifting coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.

Now EU residents and citizens can move freely in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia – where fewer than 150 deaths were recorded in total – but travelers arriving from outside the eurozone are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Baltic states move is considered to be Europe’s first “travel bubble” since the coronavirus outbreak forced the world to shut down.

According to reports, other countries are considering similar schemes which will allow people to travel freely between two or more countries in efforts to gradually open up to international tourism and reboot their economies which rely heavily on tourism and which accounts for nearly 10 percent of the Union’s GDP.

Warsaw, Poland

Australia and New Zealand are also looking into the option aiming to allow quarantine-free travel, while Finland and Poland have also been approached to join the Baltic initiative.

In efforts to reignite members’ economies, the EU has been encouraging countries to ease restrictions and enable travel. The Covid-19 crisis is expected to drive Europe’s projected revenue down from 200 billion dollars to 124 billion dollars.

The Commission’s guidelines “encourage member states enjoying a similar epidemiological situation to gradually open internal borders, in a coordinated and non-discriminatory way”, said Lithuania’s representative at the Commission Arnoldas Pranckevicius via his twitter account.

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