Border crossing points will be offering rapid testing for anyone arriving in Estonia
As of Monday 19 July, anyone crossing the Estonian border will be able to select from a range of coronavirus detection tests. In addition to the PCR test which has been used so far, a rapid antigen test will also become available, with a sample being collected by means of nasopharyngeal swabs and with the results being received within thirty minutes. The antigen tests, which will be carried out in local testing sites at border crossing points, will be available free of charge for the residents of Estonia or at a cost of thirty euros for all other individuals. The free testing service is designed for anyone who arrives from what are known as ‘risk countries’ (those countries which have a fourteen-day infection rate of over 75.1 new cases a day for every 100,000 members of the population).
Rapid testing will become available at all of those test sites which have been operating so far: at Tallinn Airport, at the Port of Tallinn, and at the Narva border crossing point. Next week, further test sites will be opened at the Luhamaa and Koidula border crossing points. For anyone who arrives in Estonia by road or via the Port of Paldiski, the free antigen tests can be taken at the public test sites in Tartu, Pärnu, and Tallinn, but time slots must be pre-booked by calling the public call centre (telephone 64 64 848, between Mon-Fri 08:00-18:00, Sat and Sun 10:00-16:00).
From now on rapid antigen test results will also be sent to the digilugu.ee environment within four hours of the test being taken. The individual who provided the sample will receive a text message to notify them of their result, whether positive or negative. If no text message is received within four hours, the individual should contact the public call centre for further testing (using the number 64 64 848).
If an individual’s rapid antigen test result is positive, a further PCR test can be taken which may confirm or disprove the rapid test result. The PCR test can be taken immediately, at the same border crossing point, or a different time slot may be booked at a suitable test site in Estonia. PCR tests which are taken to confirm the results of rapid tests are free for all, and the results will arrive within 48 hours.
If an individual who has travelled to Estonia would like to have a certificate issued to show the result of their antigen test, they must make clear this wish before taking the test and will be required to pay a fee of ten euros. A verified certificate will be sent to the email address of the individual who provided the sample. Rapid antigen test certificates cannot be generated via the testi.me application, but Estonian residents can still use the app to generating free PCR test certificates.
The Health Board would like to remind everyone that persons who arrive in Estonia from a risk country will be required to self-isolate unless they are subject to any exceptions which means that such restrictions do not apply to them. In the case of someone who is travelling from a European country, the obligation to self-isolate will apply if the infection rate in the country of departure is higher than 200 new cases a day for every 100,000 members of the population. However, in the case of travelling from third countries it will be necessary to self-isolate if the infection rate in the country of departure exceeds 75 new cases a day. In order to shorten the duration of the period in which restrictions will be applied to the movement of the individual concerned, a two-part testing process must be completed. The first test may be an antigen test or the PCR test, but the individual will be required to remain in limited self-isolation irrespective of the result. The second test must be a PCR test which can be taken at any of the public testing sites in Estonia by pre-booking a time slot via the koroonatestimine.ee website. A gap of at least six days must be left between the first and second test. If the PCR test has not been booked by the sixth day, the patient will be contacted for testing by the public call centre.
Updated information about testing and the obligation to self-isolate can be found on the following website: kriis.ee.
Further information about different countries and the restrictions on movement which are applicable to those individuals who are travelling to Estonia is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.