Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The Finnish government has decided to reinstate internal border control for traffic between Finland and the Netherlands and between Finland and Belgium. Restrictions on external border traffic will be reinstated for traffic from Andorra to Finland. “The number of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands, Belgium and Andorra,” according to a press release by the government on Thursday, “has taken an upward turn since the previous assessment.”

Restrictions on entry may be lifted for traffic between Finland and countries where the incidence of Covid-19 has not exceeded eight new cases per 100,000 persons in the previous 14 days. Alternatively, concerning internal border traffic, the lifting of entry restrictions may be considered for countries with a maximum of 10 new cases of the disease per 100,000 persons in the previous 14 days.

If necessary, the lifted restrictions may be reinstated if the pandemic situation gets worse in a certain country.

The government considers that the use of the alternative limit value is justified in the case of Germany and Denmark. In these countries, the number of incidences is likely to have increased momentarily due to local clusters of the disease. The situation must be reconsidered if the incidence rate exceeds the limit value, as is now the case in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The reinstated restrictions will enter into force on Monday, August 10.

Lifting restrictions for Sweden considered

The government noted that “the epidemiological situation in Sweden has developed in a positive direction” and will in its next assessment of entry restrictions consider lifting internal border checks between Finland and Sweden, in part or in full, if the pandemic situation allows.

The situation is assessed approximately every two weeks.

Other restrictions on entry remain unchanged

Internal border traffic refers to cross-border traffic between Finland and another Schengen country. Restrictions on internal border traffic have been lifted for traffic between Finland and Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Liechtenstein, Malta, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary. Traffic to Finland, commuting and other essential traffic will be allowed at internal borders.

External border traffic refers to traffic between Finland and a non-Schengen country. Restrictions on external border traffic have been lifted for traffic between Finland and Cyprus, Ireland, San Marino and the Vatican. Traffic between these countries and Finland is allowed without restrictions.

Also, external border traffic is allowed between Finland and Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay for residents of these countries. The same applies to China, provided that reciprocity is confirmed by the Council of the European Union.

The accepted criteria for entry are the return of persons living in Finland or another EU or Schengen country, and other essential reasons.

At the external borders, an established intimate personal relationship is also considered an essential reason for entry. At the internal borders, this may alternatively be a close personal relationship. Border checks rely primarily on the traveler’s self-declaration of such a relationship. If necessary, when checking the other criteria for entry, travelers may be requested to provide more detailed information.

The decisions made on Thursday will remain in force until September 8, but they can be reassessed earlier if necessary.

Under section 9 of the Constitution of Finland, Finnish citizens always have the right to return to Finland, and everyone has the right to leave Finland if they so wish, provided that there is no legal impediment to this. However, the government still recommends avoiding unnecessary travel to other countries than those for which the restrictions on entry have been lifted.

People leaving Finland must also take into account any restrictions imposed by the country of destination on travelers arriving from Finland.