A Finnair plane departing from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Finland's main tourist hub, this week (Image: Lehtikuva)

News in brief

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT HAS REVEALED A FULL LIST of countries where residents are free to travel to and from Finland for leisure purposes without any restrictions, effective starting Monday 13th July. 

At a press conference outside the House of the Estates in central Helsinki, Ministry of the Interior Maria Ohisalo laid out the government's rationale for the relaxing of border controls that have been in place since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. 

The government has stated that their benchmark for assessing which countries constitute 'safe' destinations of origin is whether or not the said country has a rate of new infections lower than 8 per 100,000 people. However, Ohisalo stressed that this is "not an absolute upper limit" and that there is room for flexibility if a country has demonstrated a "strong decline" in the rate of new infections. 

Countries whose residents will be able to travel freely to Finland without the need to observe quarantine from next week are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Cyprus, Andorra, Vatican, San Marino, Malta, Netherlands, Thailand, Algeria, Australia, China, and Rwanda.

This is on top of countries whose residents are already able to travel to Finland unrestricted, such as Norway, Denmark, Estonia, and Iceland. Residents of a number of European countries will still be required to observe border controls, with France, the UK, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic all being excluded from the new list. Residents of these countries can only travel to Finland if they have a demonstrably essential reason to do so and must observe a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival. 

In the press conference, Ohisalo also encouraged Finns to pursue domestic tourism this summer, as the industry has been hard-hit by the coronavirus and international travel still comes with substantial risks attached. 


Adam Oliver Smith - HT

Image Credit: Lehtikuva