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Finland Ends Internal Border Controls, Extends Restrictions for Traveller From Third-Countries Until Mid-February

Finland will end all internal border controls on Monday, January 31, which were reinstated at the end of December last year as a measure to contain the spread of the changing Omicron coronavirus in the country.

Just as warned on January 19, Finnish authorities will remove border controls for travelers from EU countries and other Schengen area after the country’s Institute of Health and Welfare concluded that internal border controls can no longer be justified on public health grounds.

The same also indicated that travel did not play a significant role in the development of the epidemic in Finland, reports.

Meanwhile, during a meeting on January 27, the government decided to extend restrictions on arrivals from third countries for another two weeks until February 14. The move means that people from outside the European Union and the Schengen area will still be required to present negative test results upon arrival in Finland.

“Those arriving in Finland from outside the European Union and the Schengen Area are required to have a certificate of a full series of vaccinations or a previous COVID-19 infection less than six months ago. In addition, proof of negative COVID-19 test results that have been past is required. It is less than 48 hours. This requirement applies to those born in 2006 or before,” the Finnish Ministry of the Interior noted in a press release.

The following are excluded from the duty to provide vaccination or recovery certificates:

Foreign Finnish citizens permanently residing in Finland People who are traveling for essential purposes such as compelling family matters or other compelling personal reasons

However, since the Communicable Diseases Act applies to all passengers, those who arrive in Finland by air must present one of these two certificates, regardless of their nationality or purpose of travel. Those who have not been vaccinated and who have had COVID-19 disease in the past six months must be tested for COVID-19 in the past 72 hours before arriving in Finland. Only PCR tests are accepted.

The ministry notes that “if the traveler does not have any of the above-mentioned certificates, they will be directed to a COVID-19 test at the point of entry.”

It also notes that although Finnish tourists can return to Finland without COVID-19 test results, they should be aware that their destination country or the airline they are flying with may have different testing requirements.

The removal of internal border controls by the Finnish authorities comes at a time when the majority of EU and Schengen countries are moving towards easing travel, especially after the Omicron virus variant was found to be a milder form of COVID-19, resulting in fewer hospitalizations and deaths. .

Another reason behind the move is that more member states agree that travel restrictions do not contribute enough to containing the epidemic, and therefore, it is not reasonable to keep them in place.

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