HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland will allow travellers from abroad who are fully vaccinated, can show they have had COVID-19 within the last six months, or come from a country with a low infection rate to freely enter the country, the government said on Tuesday.
Other potential visitors will have to take a COVID-19 test before entering Finland or at the border, then self-isolate on arrival and take another test after three days or face a fine, health officials told a news conference.
Finland’s borders have largely been closed for all but essential travel since the coronavirus pandemic started last year, to contain its spread.
“All three previous infection waves have started from infections that came from abroad,” the Nordic country’s chief physician Markku Makijarvi said on Tuesday.
The health ministry said the free entry list currently includes 13 countries that have recorded 10 or fewer new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks.
The Finnish Health Institute had recommended entry be allowed from countries with a 14-day case notification rate of 25 or lower but the government chose to be more cautious.
Finland’s own rate stood at 22.86 on July 6, according to data https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea collected by ECDC, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Although infections spiked in June after football fans returned from Euro 2020 games in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, Finland remains among the countries least affected by the pandemic.
To date, the nation of 5.5 million people has recorded 96,791 cases and 973 deaths from COVID-19, with 38 people currently hospitalised due to the disease.
Some 72.9% of those eligible have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the ECDC.
(Reporting by Essi Lehto; Editing by Catherine Evans)