Baltic residents arrive in Rīga with Tallink ferry

The Romantika ferry operated by Tallink arrived in Rīga yesterday evening carrying some 476 Baltic residents from Germany after they were unable to cross into Poland to return to their home country. 

The ferry left Saasnitz on the evening of March 18 and arrive in Rīga March 19 shortly before midnight. 

It carried 476 passengers, including 203 Latvian passengers, as well as about 150 cars. Lithuanians and Estonians who arrived were escorted by the police to their countries' borders. 

Latvian emergency services offered coronavirus tests in the Rīga harbor area, and about a dozen people took them according to Estonia's ERR News. 

Previously the Romantika ferry also carried some German citizens home on the way to Saasnitz. 

All Latvian passengers have to go into 14 day self-quarantine directly on arrival.

The ferry offered a rare chance for Baltic residents stuck in Germany to go back home as international transit is closed and so is the border with Poland. 

A range of sweeping measures have been introduced in Latvia in an effort to keep coronavirus at bay, including international travel restrictions and new regulations at retail points of sale.

The full rules and regulations are available to read online in English, and all members of the public are urged to read them and comply in a spirit of solidarity. Social interactions are to be reduced to a minimum and frequent and careful hand-washing is urged as part of a policy characterised as "social distancing".

Relevant information in English is also available at the website of the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC).

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