Czechs again free to travel to Estonia and Latvia, reciprocal agreement with Tunisia could come soon

Riga, Latvia, photo: Spryn, CC 3.0 license

Latvia and Estonia have placed the Czech Republic back on their list of coronavirus “safe states” which means that Czechs can again travel to these countries without having to go into quarantine, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček announced on Tuesday. Negotiations on a reciprocal travel agreement with Tunisia are underway and may soon be launched with Georgia, but Egypt and Turkey remain unsafe in the eyes of the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Both Latvia and Estonia placed the Czech Republic on their lists of medium risk states at the beginning of July. It meant that any Czech traveller to the two Baltic states had to undertake a two week long quarantine upon entering the countries, even if they produced a negative coronavirus test.

This has now changed, Foreign Minister Tomas Petříček announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“Latvia and Estonia have placed us back on their lists of safe states. Travel to both countries is now possible without limitations... Right now we have no signal that any EU member state is considering placing the Czech Republic outside its list of safe states.”

The only EU country which has not yet removed travel restrictions for Czech travellers is Cyprus, where a negative COVID-19 test is still compulsory.

Tomáš Petříček, photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio

While the precautions on the Mediterranean island may complicate travel for some tourists, many more are likely disappointed about the ongoing restrictions when it comes to traveling to Turkey and Egypt, which attracted no less than 558,000 Czechs last year according to the country’s statistics agency.

Neither country is yet considered safe by the Czech Foreign Ministry and this is unlikely to change any time soon Mr Petříček said.

“In the case of Turkey and Egypt, I would ask for some more patience. These countries are not on the joint EU list and the whole procedure depends on the epidemiological situation in these countries and its development. We have our doubts about the intensity of testing and the way in which statistics portray the situation there.”

However, there is cause for optimism when it comes to Tunisia and not just for Czech tourists, but those from the North African state as well, according to Mr Petříček.

“Tunisia belongs to the list of states deemed safe by the European Union. We are currently in intense negotiations with Tunisia regarding a reciprocal agreement wherein the Czech Republic would be placed on its list of safe countries and this could also lead us to adjusting our own national list [of safe states for travel]. I believe this situation could be resolved in the coming weeks.”

Georgia is another non-EU state with which the Czech Republic is considering similar negotiations depending on the development of the local epidemiological situation.

Currently, the Czech Republic accepts non-EU travellers from Montenegro, Serbia, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

The European Union has also classified Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Morocco, Rwanda and Uruguay as “safe” countries with which member states should gradually lift travel restrictions.