Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Finland to ease COVID-19-related border restrictions from May 14. Significant business and travel restrictions remain.

This alert affects Finland

This alert began 13 May 2020 12:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 1
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Finland plan to ease restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from May 14. From this date, border controls with Schengen Area and associated countries will be relaxed to allow passage of commuter and essential traffic. Helsinki (HEL), Mariehamn (MHQ), and Turku (TKU) airports and the seaports of Helsinki, Langnas, Turku, and Vaasa are the only facilities currently accepting passenger traffic. Nationals of other countries remain barred from entry through at least June 14; the restrictions do not apply to freight transport.

Additionally, from May 14, educational facilities will begin to resume operations gradually, and some outdoor recreational facilities will be permitted to reopen. However, most non-essential public-facing businesses and public institutions remain closed, and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. The government plans to ease further restrictions from June 1, depending upon the evolution of disease activity in the country.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel plans and business appointments. Carry proper identification and other necessary travel documents to present at security checks. Plan for processing delays if traveling or routing cross-border freight. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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