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airBaltic to conduct final repatriation flight from Frankfurt to Riga on March 30 - Foreign Ministry

BC, Riga , 26.03.2020.Print version
As the Covid-19 disease has spread, the Latvian Foreign Ministry has been warning, in a timely and systematic manner, about difficulties travelers can expect abroad and about additional security measures introduced by various countries, LETA learned from the ministry.

On March 12, when the list of “affected countries” hardest hit by the novel coronavirus had increased to 20 and Covid-19 was recognised as a pandemic, the Latvian Foreign Ministry issued a travel alert cautioning Latvian nationals against travelling outside Latvia. 


Since March 14, when the Cabinet passed a decision on suspending international passenger traffic in Latvia (a state of emergency had already been declared on March 12), the Latvian Foreign Ministry, working closely together with the Latvian Transport Ministry, the national carrier airBaltic and other passenger carriers as well as in cooperation with their Estonian, Lithuanian and Nordic colleagues, has assisted 1,500 Latvian nationals on their return home. At the same time, other travelers have been brought home using routes recommended by the ministry or using ways they found themselves, through Lithuania, Estonia and other transit hubs which were still accessible.


In order to help travelers from Latvia return home, on March 16, the Latvian Foreign Ministry urged those travelling to find ways to reach airports in Europe and Istanbul and register themselves with the Consular Register. This approach enabled many to also return to Latvia from far-away corners of the Earth within two weeks. A total of 21 special flights from eight different countries have already taken place and are scheduled in the days ahead. With this background in mind, the ministry draws the conclusion that by March 27 or shortly after all those Latvian travelers who responded to the ministry’s call and used the transportation options offered and who did not encounter insurmountable obstacles will have been able to return.


The aim of the state of emergency was to restrict the movement of persons so that as few people in Latvia as possible would be infected with Covid-19 – and the disease would spread slower. Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry has also specifically warned all travelers that their return home means strict compliance with decisions adopted in Latvia, including going into self-isolation for 14 days. In the interests of public health and under conditions of the state of emergency, no state-organised repatriation flights are scheduled to take place after March 27. At the same time, to enable travelers who are currently in far removed regions with irregular traffic to Europe to return to Latvia, the very last repatriation flight operated by airBaltic will take place from Frankfurt on March 30.


Not all Latvians who are currently travelling abroad have decided to return to Latvia. Individuals decide on their own whether to make the return journey, and the Foreign Ministry respects the choice Latvian nationals have made to remain in places where they happen to be as well as the choice to travel in the first place.


Not all the travelers have been able to return to Latvia by the end of March due to restrictions on transportation on the route home. Therefore, the Latvian Foreign Ministry continues cooperation with other EU Member States to ensure the repatriation to Europe of those travelers who need it. Those repatriation flights are not regular or standard; they bring back the nationals of various EU countries from third countries outside the EU but they do not ensure that passengers are transported directly to their home countries. Therefore, from April onwards, possibilities for return will be considered on a case-by-case basis, when travelers are gathered at certain places.






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