76 persons have flown in from third countries during the week

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A week since the renewal of flights to and from third countries, 76 travelers have arrived in Latvia, Latvian Radio reported March 25.

Flights to two third-country destinations, Minsk in Belarus and Kiev in Ukraine, have now been renewed. 76 travelers have flown in from these countries during the week and 49 have flown out, said Laura Kulakova, spokeswoman for Rīga International Airport. She pointed out that other airlines also showed an interest in resuming flights, but the airport does not foresee a rapid increase in passenger numbers.

"According to the information we currently have, two flights are scheduled for March 27 and 28 to Egypt. But whether they really will happen, we can't answer. In any case, this is not a great deal,” Kulakova said.

If the Covid-19 test on arrival is positive, the traveler must go to one of the hotels marked as tourist accommodation by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA), and all living expenses must be covered by themselves. Special transport shall not be organized unless the traveler has flown a charter flight. The tourism agency is then responsible for bringing the person safely to the hotel in that case.

LIAA Deputy Director Iveta Strupkāja said that there are currently 30 tourist accommodations on the list, with half of the hotels in Riga and half in the other regions.

"Since the beginning of the program last year, 313 persons have used the aid. Activity is quite moderate,” Strupkāja said. These individuals have used the possibility of self-isolation as national co-financing. This does not include those who pay for the service from their own resources.

Three tourist accommodations currently are open by the operator Mogotel. Mogotel spokeswoman Sabīne Krieviņa said that, according to hotel information, a few third-country customers from the United States and India are staying in tourist accommodation, but not locals who have returned from third countries.

Although travelers are obliged to stay in isolation for ten days, the Mogotel representative pointed out that on average customers stay in their hotels for six to seven days.

If travelers do not comply with the self-isolation, or when filling the questionnaire on covidpass.lv they have not indicated an address where they will spend ten days, law enforcement may call the persons to administrative responsibility. Fine for the violation is between €10 and €2,000, explained Normunds Krapsis, State Police representative.

“Yesterday [Wednesday] nine hotel checks were carried out in Rīga, 29 persons in total were staying there and 18 of those had positive Covid-19 tests. (..) From the control perspective airports are the best mechanism because checks are done both by the Border Guard and State Police. These risks are not as big as on internal borders where a person returns by road using other aviation companies,” said Krapsis.


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