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Baltic states open a pandemic ‘travel bubble’

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have opened their borders to one another, creating a coronavirus “travel bubble”.

From midnight on Thursday, citizens and residents can move freely between the three EU nations.

Anybody arriving from outside the zone however must self-isolate for 14 days.

This is the first “travel bubble” in Europe since nations began shutting their borders earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

European Union officials are now trying to encourage other countries to end restrictions on movement as concerns grow about the economic impact of the lockdown. The Baltic states are the three poorest nations in the eurozone, and expect their economies to shrink by up to 8% this year.

In a statement, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis called the move “an opportunity for businesses to reopen, and a glimmer of hope for the people that life is getting back to normal”.

Some other nations are beginning to lift virus related border restrictions. Germany has begun to partially reopen, and has said it plans to open all its borders on 15 June provided the new case number does not worsen.

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