On Thursday, according to the government’s decision based on trying to limit the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, cross-border traffic will be restricted at Finland’s borders.
Border-crossing points were closed at midnight, March 19, and border controls have now been reintroduced.
“Finland and the whole world are facing a very serious situation because of the coronavirus. We all have to do our part because of this. Cross-border traffic at Finland’s borders will be significantly restricted. The government has made these decisions to help ensure that Finnish society and the healthcare system continue to function under emergency conditions,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (the Green League) in a statement.
People must not travel abroad at all between March 18 and April 13. This applies to travel by land, by sea and by air. A person returning to Finland from abroad should remain in quarantine-like conditions for 14 days. Finnish citizens and permanent residents in Finland are always allowed to return to Finland. Foreign travelers in Finland can leave the country.
Freight and goods traffic will continue at all borders. Necessary travel for work is still possible and continues within the EU’s internal borders. This will ensure access to everyday goods and medicines, and will not lead to society and the economy shutting down.
Helsinki-Vantaa, Mariehamn and Turku airports are kept open for goods and return traffic. The Border Guard may allow travel for work if there is a necessary and justified reason. Other airports have been closed to international traffic.
At the international border-crossing points of the eastern border, traffic and opening hours are restricted. Passenger traffic via the Vainikkala border crossing point is suspended.
At the border between Finland and Norway, Kilpisjärvi, Karigasniemi, Kivilompolo, Nuorgam, Näätämö and Utsjoki will be kept open for goods and return traffic. In addition, necessary travel for work and other necessary traffic may be permitted. Crossing the border is not permitted elsewhere.
At the Finnish–Swedish border, Karesuvanto, Kolari, Muonio, Pello, Tornio and Ylitornio is open for goods and return traffic. In addition, necessary travel for work and other necessary traffic may be permitted. Crossing the border is not permitted elsewhere.
Although cross-border commuting is not prevented, the reduction in air and sea traffic will make it significantly more difficult for foreign workers to enter Finland from abroad. In the case of EU citizens and people with a permanent residence permit in another EU country who are returning to their home country via Finland, such travel will be allowed, taking into account the person’s state of health.
The closing of a border-crossing point may not prevent anyone’s right to international protection.
Picture on the front page: Vilmos Vincze/Flickr