More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).

Focus: Beginning of a new school year, travelling restrictions, testing for coronavirus

Expand all questions

The school year is starting as normally as possible. The government decided on 18 August to remove restrictions on educational institutions and to replace them from the new school year with the recommendations issued jointly by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board. This decision applies to general education schools, professional and high schools, institutions for further learning, hobby schools, public youth centres, youth camps, educational camps, and training for car drivers and heavy vehicle drivers. The decision removes from these places of education the requirement for rooms to be filled to a maximum 50% capacity.

The management of each educational institution needs to consider how best to minimise the risks of the spread of the coronavirus while providing contact classes for as long as possible for pupils in the 1st to 6th year and pupils who need support.

The key points to remember are:

  • Wash hands regularly and keep good hand hygiene
  • Anyone who is ill or has come into contact with covid-19 must stay at home
  • It is critically important to reduce contact in schools by having separate classrooms for each class, holding classes outside, using some distance learning where necessary, and organising break times carefully
  • Events should be organised in dispersed fashion with smaller groups, and international events and foreign trips should be postponed
  • Protective equipment is very important and personal protective equipment should be supplied by the management of the institution where needed.

Protective measures and equipment are intended to avoid educational institutions going over to full distance learning. Work will be reorganised first at the level of groups or classes, then buildings, institutions or regions, in response to the specific case and the spread of the epidemic in the region.

If the risk of infection rises, educational institution should be ready to move over to distance learning. It is important to maintain and develop the capacity for distance learning throughout the academic year. It should be remembered that there will probably constantly be some pupils and teachers who have to spend some time in self-isolation and study and learn at a distance.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:50

Did this response answer your question?

Anyone coming from a foreign country where the infection rate is 16 or more must usually spend two weeks in self-isolation. The educational institution should be informed of the need for self-isolation and it should be agreed that distance learning will be followed. Educational institutions have the right to require students coming from countries with an elevated infection risk to follow distance learning.

Coronavirus tests at the border and the repeat test seven days later to reduce the length of self-isolation are intended to help people return to work more quickly. Students may also be tested at the border, but a negative result in the first test does not give the right to return to the educational institution immediately. If the result of a second test taken at least seven days after the first is also negative, this is considered equivalent to the two-week period of self-isolation.

People who can reduce their period of self-isolation by taking a test are:

  • People who have Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or the right to reside in Estonia, and people whose permanent residence is listed as being in Estonia in the population register;
  • Citizens of European Union countries and countries on the joint European Union list.

The reduction in self-isolation granted by testing does not apply to people who have come to work or study from a country that is not on the European Union's joint list of third countries. Citizens of those countries must still spend two weeks observing the restrictions on freedom of movement and abide by any other requirements set For students or workers.

For more on testing see the website of the Health Board.

Up-to-date information on countries and on restrictions on movement for those arriving in Estonia can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers.

Last updated: 08.10.2020 11:31

Did this response answer your question?

In the context of the spread of the coronavirus, it is recommended to cancel international events and trips abroad. Both the risk of infection and possible physical travel restrictions must be taken into account.

If, despite the risks, a trip is organised, it must be borne in mind that after arriving from a country with an infection rate of 16 or higher, students must remain in self-isolation for two weeks.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 10:52

Did this response answer your question?

Schools can hold ceremonies, excursions and other events, but should consider whether they are really necessary and should consider the possible risks. It is recommended that events are dispersed and held in smaller groups. The importance of washing hands must be remembered and anyone who is ill must stay at home.

School trips and excursions should be organised for classes or groups separately. It is very important when organising any event that everyone in the contact group should be informed of any case of illness.

It is recommended that trips abroad and international events be postponed.

It is not prohibited to invite guests to events, but we recommend considering very carefully how this can be done safely where necessary.

As of 18 August 2020 the requirement not to exceed 50% of the capacity of internal rooms and the restrictions on the number of participants no longer applies in schools, secondary schools, vocational schools or tertiary institutions, nor in other education institutions, hobby groups, public youth centres, youth camps or educational camps. The restrictions do not apply to hobby activities or informal education either.

The requirements placed by the government are replaced by the recommendations on preventing the spread of the virus, issued jointly by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board. The recommendations can be found at https://www.hm.ee/sites/default/files/htm_koolialgusepakett_a4_2020-2021_viimane.pdf

Last updated: 08.09.2020 16:43

Did this response answer your question?

There is no obligation to do this.

It is most important that children, parents and staff who show signs of illness should not enter kindergartens or other childcare institutions.

How the work of kindergartens and nurseries is organised is decided by the management, and the head of the kindergarten works with local authorities to find the best solution for minimising risks.

Last updated: 10.09.2020 18:33

Did this response answer your question?

People who are allowed to enter Estonia:

• All who hold Estonian citizenship, have a residence permit or a right of residence in Estonia, or a permanent residence in Estonia according to the population register, regardless of whether they have any signs of disease or not.

• Citizens and residents of the European Union, the European Economic Area countries, the Swiss Confederation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State (the Holy See), as well as persons holding a long-stay visa who show no signs of disease and their family members who show no signs of disease.

• All who arrive to the Republic of Estonia from the European Union or the Schengen Area countries or from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland if they show no signs of disease.

• Persons who hold the citizenship, residence permit or right of residence of the Republic of Latvia or the Republic of Lithuania, or whose permanent residence according to the population register is in the Republic of Latvia or the Republic of Lithuania, and they show no signs of disease.

• Persons who hold the citizenship, residence permit or right of residence of the Republic of Finland, or whose permanent residence according to the population register is in the Republic of Finland, and who show no signs of disease if:

  • Their purpose of arrival in Estonia is to work or fulfil other contractual obligations
  • They study at an educational institution registered in Estonia
  • They arrive in Estonia for unavoidable family reasons, especially funerals, weddings, cases of illness and meeting close relatives

• Foreign nationals from third countries who arrive in Estonia for work or study if they show no signs of disease.

Self-isolation is mandatory for everyone showing symptoms. Self-isolation for individuals without any symptoms depends on the country from which they departed or countries through which they transited. Information on countries and self-isolation requirements for people arriving in Estonia can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If a person arrives from or transits through a country that is not listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or is listed with red, he or she must self-isolate.

If a person arrives from or transits through a country that is not listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or is listed with red, he or she must self-isolate, which means that the employer or educational institution shall ensure the following:

• the transport of the employee or student and the opportunity to be in self-isolation for 14 days upon arrival in Estonia • testing of the employee or student for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival in Estonia and re-testing no sooner than on day 14 of their stay in Estonia • employees may not take up employment and students may not begin their studies during the first 14 days after arrival in Estonia • employees may start work and students may begin their studies on day 15, provided that their second coronavirus COVID-19 test result is negative

As an exception, the following persons who do not show any signs of illness may enter Estonia:

• employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office in Estonia, their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation

• persons who are directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials

• providers of healthcare or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation

• persons who are directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport

• persons who provide services to groups of passengers and are directly involved in the provision of passenger transport services

• persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service

• persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise

• foreign nationals who are immediately passing through the territory of Estonia in order to reach their country of residence

• foreign nationals whose direct descendant or ascendant, relative or spouse is an Estonian national, holder of an Estonian residence permit or the right of residence

• foreign nationals who have received a special permit to enter the country from the Police and Border Guard Board. The application must be sent to ppa@politsei.ee. The application for permission to cross the border in exceptional circumstances can be found on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board.

Last updated: 08.09.2020 13:12

Did this response answer your question?

People arriving on foot at the Port of Tallinn, terminals A and D, can take their test with a clinician from Confido, and people arriving at the Tallinn airport can approach the Qvalitas testing point with their letter of referral. The letter of referral will be provided at the airport. Issuing the letter of referral and taking the test will take about five minutes. Testing will take place on a first-come-first-serve basis at the port and airport. The testing sites are open until the last passenger by boat or plane has arrived.

Passengers arriving from a high-risk country at any other sea port or airport or by train or road transport , can get tested by booking a time with the SYNLAB and Medicum testing centres by calling tel 678 0000 (Monday-to-Friday 9 am to 5 pm). Priority in testing will be given to those with symptoms of the disease, therefore the waiting time will be one to two days. If you already know your time of arrival, it is recommended to book the test in advance.

Tests can be carried out in public testing points in Estonia in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Kuressaare and Kärdla.

People who have the Estonian ID-code can test for free, foreign nationals can use card-payment to pay for the test.

In order to reduce the 14-day self-isolation period, the second test must be performed no earlier than on the seventh day following the results of the previous test result. The second test must be negative in order to end the self-isolation period. In order to take the test for free (with the Estonian ID-code), a time must be booked by calling tel 678 0000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm). Testing for a fee is available with all the service providers.

Last updated: 08.10.2020 11:32

Did this response answer your question?

Even after a negative test result, the employer is not obligated to let their employee return to work.

The right to leave their place of residence or stay applies to people who are doing work that is unavoidably necessary at the decision of their employer. This means that the employer must consider each individual case, looking for example at whether the person who has arrived from a risky country can only do their work by physically being at work, or whether their work could be reorganised so that they may work from home for 14 calendar days. The employer should consider the possible risk of infection if the person is allowed to return to work, and should take all appropriate measures to prevent infection. If they are allowed to return, then the employer and the employee must take all possible steps to prevent the possible spread of the virus, such as keeping contact with other people to a minimum or using personal protection equipment. The employer must remember that even in these cases the rights and obligations of health and safety law apply, including the requirement to ensure safety at work and to carry out health tests.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 11:09

Did this response answer your question?

The answer is no. For example, citizens of the Ukrainian or the Russian Federation which are not part of the EU's list of third countries, must remain in isolation when entering Estonia for the first time to work or study, and take 2 tests (first upon arrival, the second after 14 days), only then can they go to work or study.

If a third-country national has a residence permit in Estonia or in another Member State of the European Union, they have the same rights as Estonian citizens, i.e. if a person takes a test when they arrive in the country and the result is negative, they may be able to work (if the employer permits) and make other unavoidable journeys, for example, going shopping. The second test can be taken no sooner than 7 days after the results of the first test. If the result is negative, the person can continue with their regular life.

Visa or registered short-term employment does not allow a person to go to work after receiving a negative answer to the first test, 14-day isolation is still compulsory.

Last updated: 01.10.2020 09:36

Did this response answer your question?

Foreign nationals will have to pay a fee to take the test, the coronavirus test at the port and the airport will cost EUR 67, in other places the prices will be indicated by the service provider.

Testing can be carried out by the following service providers:

Last updated: 01.10.2020 09:36

Did this response answer your question?

As an exception, the following foreign nationals who do not show any signs of illness may enter Estonia:

  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office in Estonia, their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation
  • members of a foreign delegation arriving in Estonia for a work meeting at the invitation of a state authority or local government authority
  • persons who are directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials
  • providers of healthcare or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation
  • persons who are directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport
  • persons who provide services to groups of passengers and are directly involved in the provision of passenger transport services
  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service
  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise
  • persons who are immediately passing through the territory of Estonia in order to reach their country of residence
  • persons whose direct descendant or ascendant, relative or spouse is an Estonian national, holder of an Estonian residence permit or the right of residence
  • performers at a public event or the organisers of the event, persons who participate in a sports competition as athletes, or are directly involved in organising a sports competition or event that has been authorised by the Health Board
  • foreign nationals who have received a special permit to enter the country from the Police and Border Guard Board. The purpose of the special permit is to enable third-country nationals to apply for authorisation to cross the external border for the purpose of entering Estonia. Especially for family reasons, e.g. funerals, weddings, illness of a family member, an essential meeting with a family member, etc. The application must be sent to ppa@politsei.ee. The application for permission to cross the border in exceptional circumstances can be found on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board: https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/emergency-situation

A foreign national who has been admitted to Estonia on the basis of a special permit is subject to a general restriction on the freedom of movement and may not leave his or her permanent residence or place of stay within 14 days. From 1 September, those returning to Estonia from COVID-19 risk countries will have the opportunity to be tested for coronavirus at the airport and port in order to shorten the period of self-isolation and allow them to return to work sooner. People are required to self-isolate completely until they receive their test results. In the case of a negative test result, a person must stay in limited self-isolation for the first seven days, which means that he or she can go to work and, for example, a shop, but must avoid unnecessary contacts. A second test must be performed no earlier than 7 days after the results of the first test, and if the results of this test are also negative, a person can resume their daily life.

Last updated: 14.09.2020 11:12

Did this response answer your question?

Self-isolation is mandatory for everyone showing symptoms.

Self-isolation for individuals without any symptoms depends on the country from which they departed or countries through which they transited. Information on countries and self-isolation requirements for people arriving in Estonia can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If a person arrives from or transits through a country that is not listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or is listed with red, they must remain in self-isolation.

As of September 1, people returning to Estonia from the countries with high COVID-19 risk will have the opportunity to take two tests which would allow them to self-isolate for less than 14 calendar days, if both tests come back negative. The condition is that upon entering Estonia, the person will immediately take the test for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19 disease, and this test result is negative. People are required to self-isolate in their place of residence or stay until they receive their test results. In the case of a negative test result, the person may go outside in the following cases:

  1. if they have received an order from a health care worker or a police officer to leave the place of residence or permanent stay;
  2. they leave their place of residence or permanent stay while directed to do so by a health care worker to receive health care services or in the event of an emergency which threatens the life or health of a person;
  3. if they fulfil immediate and unavoidable work obligations upon the decision of the employer or participate in an unavoidable family event and have taken at least one test for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19 disease after their arrival in Estonia, and the test results are negative.
  4. when they need to leave their place of residence or stay for an essential reason, while remaining nearby their residence.
  5. when they stay outdoors and avoid any contacts with other people.
  6. when they have signed a confirmation of compliance with the instructions and current requirements of the Health Board, confirming the obligation to comply with the above requirements.

The second test must be performed no earlier than the seventh day following the receipt of the previous test result. After finding out the negative result of the second test or the doctor has declared the person non-infectious, the obligation to isolate ends.

Last updated: 08.10.2020 11:32

Did this response answer your question?

To avoid catching the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands with soap under running water, use alcohol-based hand disinfectant, if necessary.

  • Avoid contact. Keep a distance of at least two metres from people who are coughing or sneezing. If you stand too close to a person with symptoms of the disease, you may contract the disease yourself. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands, it is possible that the virus will be transmitted to you as well. 

If you suspect you might be infected:

  • If you have mild symptoms of a respiratory disease, follow the usual hand hygiene guidelines carefully and stay at home until you have recovered.

  • Monitor your health. If you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulties, seek help early. Call your family doctor or the GP hotline at 1220.

To stop the spread of microbes and the virus:

  • If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a single use tissue. Throw it into the bin immediately after, and then clean your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (the inside of your elbow), but do not use your bare hand.  
  • Covering your mouth and nose helps prevent spreading the virus. If you sneeze into a bare hand, you might transfer the contamination and viruses to others as well as to objects that you touch.  

Last updated: 22.09.2020 14:56

Did this response answer your question?

  • Tests should be done if symptoms appear. Symptoms usually appear 5-6 days after infection. In some cases, the person infected is contagious a day or two before the symptoms appear.

  • If symptoms appear, stay at home, and call your family doctor. The family doctor will decide whether a test is needed and will give health advice.

  • If the family doctor decides that you need a test, they will send an electronic request to the laboratory and they will call you to agree on the place and time for the test. Wait for the call. Tests can also be done at weekends and on national holidays.

  • All people who receive a letter of referral from their family doctor can book their time for testing for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. After the letter of referral arrives, the public testing system will send a text message to the phone number provided in the letter of referral with a link for e-registration option. This message will be sent to people aged 18 and over. The patient needs to identify themselves with their ID-card or Mobile-ID in the e-registration environment. This helps people to book their testing time, and they do not have to wait for the testing centre to call them.

  • The service is not compulsory, it is an additional option. If you do not wish to use e-registration or you do not receive the text message for technical reasons, then the testing centre will call you for registration in the order of the letters of referral received.

  • Take an ID document with you to the test and be on time.

  • Only a person with an electronic referral can give the nasopharyngeal sample at the agreed time with an ID document. There is no point in coming just in case, only people with a prior registration are tested. You should come alone for the test.

  • Wait for the result. You will be called within two working days. The results will also be in the digilugu.ee portal.

  • If your test is positive, stay at home and follow the advice of your family doctor. If your health deteriorates, contact your family doctor again or call an ambulance on 112. 

  • If Covid-19 infection is confirmed you must remain in self-isolation as ordered by your doctor, following the same rules as those required to quarantine following the Order of the Government No. 257. In either case you may only leave the self-isolation in exceptional circumstances (emergencies, police instructions, or transport to the hospital due to health reasons).

Last updated: 12.10.2020 10:02

Did this response answer your question?

In certain cases, an Estonian citizen or a permanent resident can go to Latvia without staying in self-isolation.

  • It is allowed to drive a personal car to Riga Airport in order to take somebody to a flight or from a flight to Estonia if no public places are visited in Latvia, the driver is not symptomatic and has not stayed in a country of high infection risk within the last 14 days.
  • Transit through Latvia is allowed within 12 hours without overnight stay. Transit generally means travelling through a country in order to get from one place to another.
  • The state border can be crossed for carrying out the duties of employment. You must have a document confirming the reason for travel (employment contract, cooperation agreement, commercial register statement etc.) with you;
  • in order to receive childcare service or obtain full-time formal education at a preschool level (by presenting a certificate issued by the provider of the service or the educational institution);
  • to accompany a student who is a minor or an adult with special needs to childcare, kindergarten, school;
  • in order to take care of relatives, organise a funeral or participate in a funeral;
  • in order to receive medical care in Latvia prescribed by a doctor (by presenting a certificate or referral issued by the doctor);

General requirements for persons staying in the territory of Latvia:

  • a person cannot be symptomatic;
  • a person has not stayed in a country of high infection risk (a red country) within the last 14 days;
  • a face mask must be used in public places;
  • in order to not endanger the health of other people, excessive contacts must be avoided (no going for visits, no visits to crowded places etc.).

The final decision on the self-isolation requirement is made by the Latvian border guard.

For more information see the Reisi Targalt (Smart Travel) web page: https://reisitargalt.vm.ee/riigid/lati/

Last updated: 24.09.2020 16:43

Did this response answer your question?

Currently there are 14 public coronavirus testing sites where you can go with a personal identification document at a pre-booked time to give a nasopharyngeal sample for the coronavirus test.

In order to book a time you must call the booking line of the testing centre 678 0000. Calls are taken from Monday to Friday 9.00-17.00.

The testing sites are located at:

  • Tallinn, Haabersti -- Paldiski mnt 104b, next to Saku Suurhall (SYNLAB tent)
  • Tallinn, Mustamägi -- Ehitajate tee 27, the parking lot of the Mustamäe Health Center (Medicum tent)
  • Tallinn, Lasnamägi -- Narva mnt 95, the Mäe gate of the Tallinn Song Festival Ground (Medicum tent)
  • Tartu -- Laulupeo puiestee 25, near the song festival ground (Qvalitas tent)
  • Viljandi -- the Viljandi market square (SYNLAB bus)
  • Pärnu -- Rannapark P1 the parking lot of Naisterand (Qvalitas tent)
  • Rakvere -- Tuleviku 1, the Rakvere polyclinic (SYNLAB office)
  • Paide -- Tallinna mnt 47, parking lot (SYNLAN bus)
  • Kuressaare -- Aia 25, in front of the main entrance of the Kuressaare hospital
  • Narva -- Joala 20, Narva Gate (Corrigo office)
  • Kohtla-Järve -- Ilmajaama 14, in the parking lot of the G-block (Ida-Viru Central Hospital tent)
  • Hiiumaa -- the location of giving the sample is agreed upon with Hiiumaa Hospital
  • Võru -- Kooli 4, in the parking lot of Kagukeskus, near the car wash (Qvalitas tent)

Last updated: 24.09.2020 16:46

Did this response answer your question?

The self-isolation time of a close contact cannot be reduced.

Last updated: 24.09.2020 16:46

Did this response answer your question?

Due to the increase in testing volumes, the waiting lines are slightly longer. If you gave a correct phone number when the referral was issued, you will definitely be contacted.

Last updated: 24.09.2020 17:01

Did this response answer your question?

The restrictions on the night-time sale of alcohol all around Estonia will come into action on the night from 24 to 25 September from 00.00 to 10.00. The restrictions apply to all places where alcohol is being sold for consumption on the spot - for example bars, hightclubs, restaurants, theatre cafes, cinema bars, concert halls, hotels and other places. The restrictions will currently be valid until 24 October, one week before this date the government will decide if there is the need for extending the period of restrictions.

Last updated: 24.09.2020 16:49

Did this response answer your question?

Supervision over the national night-time alcohol sales restriction is carried out by the local government.

Last updated: 01.10.2020 09:36

Did this response answer your question?

Public events (performances. concerts, festivals, folk culture events, fairs, conferences etc.) are permitted but no more than 2000 visitors may attend events in the open air, or 750 at indoor events (where rooms must not be filled to more than 50% capacity).

The 50% capacity requirement indoors does not apply to theatre performances, concerts and cinema screenings, conferences or public meetings and events, as long as there are fixed seats available for the entire audience. The 50% capacity exception does not apply to events where temporary seating is used.

It is still obligatory for the visitors to keep a distance with other people at the events, and it is obligatory to the organizers to guarantee access to disinfectant and adherence to the disinfecting requirements.

Last updated: 25.09.2020 09:07

Did this response answer your question?

More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).