Critical Alert


Finland maintaining COVID-19-related entry restrictions as of Oct. 23; domestic social distancing measures in effect.

 

Summary
Authorities are maintaining international entry restrictions as of Oct. 23 in an effort to minimize the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Travelers are only permitted to enter Finland from the following countries if they are returning legal residents, traveling for essential purposes, or arriving for work-related or family reasons:

  • Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.


Authorities also advise arrivals from the above locations to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Travel remains permitted for local border communities along the border with Sweden and Norway; people are able to travel for work to Finland from Sweden and Estonia without a 14-day self-isolation period. Leisure travel, with the exception of leisure boating, from all the aforementioned countries is not allowed.

In addition, authorities allow travelers from these countries to shorten the self-isolation period by undertaking two voluntary COVID-19 tests. Travelers are to take the first test up to 72 hours before arrival, or at the airport upon arrival for Finnish citizens and residents, and the second test no earlier than 72 hours after entry into the country. Such individuals must remain in self-isolation until the result is known. If the test result is negative, the self-isolation period ends; if the test result is positive, the person will be placed in quarantine until they have recovered.

As of Oct. 23, travelers arriving in Finland from other Schengen Area countries, as well as Australia, Japan, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, New Zealand, Uruguay, and the Vatican, can enter without restrictions. Travel is prohibited from all other countries except for returning residents and persons arriving for critical work-related or essential family reasons; authorities recommend that these arrivals also self-isolate for 14 days. Authorities are reviewing all entry restrictions on a weekly basis.

Domestically, authorities have permitted most nonessential businesses to reopen, including shops, catering establishments, cultural institutions, and educational facilities, though authorities recommend they implement strict social distancing and hygiene requirements. Tighter restrictions apply in areas of higher COVID-19 activity, including Uusimaa (includes Helsinki), Southwest Finland, Pirkanmaa, Kanta-Hame, and Ostrobothnia.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

 

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. 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, and 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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