Poland to open borders with Baltic states next week, Lithuania says

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Poland and the Baltic states will open their borders to each other next week in an easing of coronavirus travel restrictions, Lithuanian Prime Minister said on Friday after a video conference with his Polish counterpart.

The Baltic states - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - opened their common borders on May 15, creating the first so called “travel bubble” within the European Union in a bid to jump-start stalled economies.

“We agreed that free movement between the Baltic states and Poland will be restored next week,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on his Facebook page after the talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

“Ministries of both countries were told to work on this as fast as possible,” he added.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia each allow entry into their common travel area from most EU countries, singling out those where infection rates are deemed low enough to mitigate any risk of rekindling outbreaks that have slowed across the Baltics.

Travellers from other countries are told to self-isolate for 14 days. Travel from countries where infection rates are high, such as Britain, remains banned.

In response to an emailed request for comment, Poland’s interior ministry said that, as previously announced, controls on the borders with Lithuania, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia had been extended until June 12 and that it would issue a statement about any further developments.

Reporting By Andrius Sytas, additional reporting by Alan Charlish; editing by Niklas Pollard and Nick Macfie