Authorities in Finland have announced that international entry restrictions introduced to minimize the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will remain in place until at least Dec. 13. Travelers arriving from all Schengen Area countries plus Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Monaco, Romania, San Marino, and the UK are only permitted to enter Finland if they are returning legal residents, traveling for essential purposes, or arriving for work-related or family reasons. Authorities also advise that arrivals from the above locations self-isolate for 10 days upon entering the country. 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 10-day self-isolation period. Leisure travel, with the exception of leisure boating, from all the aforementioned countries, is not allowed.
Authorities have previously relaxed entry restrictions for travelers arriving from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the Vatican City; such arrivals 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 10 days. Authorities are reviewing all entry restrictions on a weekly basis.
Authorities are allowing travelers to shorten the self-isolation period by undertaking two voluntary COVID-19 tests. Travelers must 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.
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; businesses must stop serving alcohol after 2400. 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.
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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