Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Finland Set to Keep Its Borders Closed for EU Travellers Until Late Summer

Finnish borders will not open in June for travellers from other EU and Schengen Area countries, as previously planned, since the country estimates that the epidemiological situation in the block hasn’t improved as expected.

Previously, Finland set May as a deadline for restoring business travel within the European Union, whereas June as a target for opening borders for Schengen Area travellers, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

However, the strategy cannot be implemented since only a few countries have registered COVID-19 infection rates lower than 200 for 100,000 residents during the last two weeks, sources said for YLE radio.

The Ministry of Interior’s secretary, Kirsi Pimiä, confirmed that exit strategy targets set for travelling are still under discussion, but she refused to comment whether borders will open in June.

“We still don’t even have detailed information on how the restrictions will change starting next week. Everything is still up in the air,” Secretary Pimiä noted.

Since the current restrictions will expire in a week, Finland intends to continue applying its restrictive travel norms for all Schengen countries except Iceland.

Finland’s decision on internal border controls will depend not only on the epidemiological situation in other countries but also on the vaccination pace and the health measures implemented to replace the border controls effectively.

On the other hand, the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is compiling a proposal according to which passengers arriving in Finland need to provide a negative COVID-19 test proof taken in advance.

According to Pimiä, the next step to exit the lockdown will be to allow cross-border travel with Norway and Sweden. Travelling through the Finnish-Norwegian border may be permitted by the end of the month. In contrast, the communities at the Finnish-Swedish borderline will have to wait longer since the epidemiological situation in Sweden is more severe.

Previously, Finland decided to extend the country’s entry restriction until May 25 due to several COVID-19 mutations and prevent the transmission of the virus within borders.

Finish borders remain closed for all Schengen countries, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Estonia.

Given the low infection rate, Finland had lifted its restrictions only for Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Rwanda and Thailand.

In March, Finland disregarded European Commission’s call to mitigate restrictions by saying that the existing measures are implemented in a bid to hold and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and its new mutations in the country.

Based on the Worldometer figures, Finland has registered 95,054 COVID-19 total cases, 929 deaths, 46,000 recovered citizens, and it currently counts 43,469 active Coronavirus infected individuals.

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