Finnish football fans following a match on a terrace in Helsinki/Lehtikuva

News in brief

Supporters of Finland’s national football team were held up for several hours at the Finland-Russia border on Tuesday when they returned to the country after attending a Euro 2020 match in St. Petersburg, Russia. 

The long queues, which were up to a kilometre-long at the border crossing in Vaalimaa, were caused by a shortage of COVID-19 testing resources, in particular a lack of staff to administer the test. 

Many were left to wait in cars or buses in the sweltering heat (over 30 ℃) for 3–5 hours. The match between Finland and Belgium ended shortly before Midnight on Monday. There were reportedly no issues encountered on the Russian side of the border.

The traffic at the crossing, which had been left open overnight, finally began moving at 8 pm when authorities decided to halt testing and advised travellers to quarantine once they arrived in Finland and get a test done there (within 72 hours). 

The decision to skip the health checks was made by the Social and Health Services in Kymenlaakso (Kymsote). According to reports, the queue included hundreds of cars and buses, with the trapped travellers unable to access any kind of food or water.

As per current practices, those attempting to cross the border are tested if they are unable to produce proof of a negative COVID-19 result that is less than 72 hours old.