Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru leaving the Parliament House in Helsinki after a question-hour debate on Thursday, 1 July 2021. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE RULING COALITION in Finland have yet to find an understanding on the definition of a low-risk country, reports YLE.

The Finnish Parliament on Friday approved a new system that removes entry restrictions for, for example, people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, recovered from the coronavirus disease in the past six months, or arrive from a country where the risk of transmission is low.

Countries are defined as low-risk countries based on the two-week incidence of coronavirus infections. The incidence rate limit will be set for an unspecified time period with a government decree based an evaluation of the epidemiological situation. The government is expected to issue the decree on Tuesday.

Information obtained by the public broadcasting company suggests the five ruling parties differ on what the limit should be. Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) has voiced her support for a markedly prohibitive limit: a maximum of 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks.

Finland presently regards countries with at most 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants as low-risk countries. The Centre and Swedish People’s Party have both viewed that the limit should be kept at the current level.

YLE on Monday wrote that the government is more likely to proceed with the stricter limit.

The disagreements between the ruling parties became evident already in the Parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee. It is the committee that decided to amend the government proposal on the entry system and lift entry restrictions also for people arriving from low-risk countries, in spite of the opposition of the Social Democrats.

A decision on the limit is awaited anxiously by the tourism industry, for example.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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