Preparing for coronavirus outbreak

The authorities responsible for internal security are prepared for the spread of the coronavirus. They are looking after everyday security in Finland. 

Cross-border traffic restricted

Restrictions from 13 July

On 10 July, the Government decided on the continuation of internal border control and on the restrictions on external border traffic. As of 13 July, the Government will lift the restrictions on traffic at the internal borders between Finland and countries where the incidence of the coronavirus is similar to that in the countries where internal border control has already been lifted. As a general rule, the limit value is eight new cases of the disease per 100,000 persons in the previous 14 days.

Alternatively, the lifting of internal border controls and 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 the epidemic situation so permits, the Government will review its decisions on border traffic restrictions in two weeks’ time and, if necessary, make new decisions.

Based on the development of the epidemic, internal border control has been lifted as of 13 July for the following countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Greece, Malta, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Finland has already abolished internal border control for traffic between Finland and Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as for leisure boating. 

The restrictions will continue to be in force to the extent that they are still necessary due to a serious threat posed by the epidemiological situation. Based on the current epidemiological assessment, internal border control and restrictions on entry into the country will continue for travel between Finland and Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic, with the exception of leisure boating.

Insofar as internal border control continues at internal borders, return traffic to Finland, commuting and other essential traffic will be allowed at internal borders.

External border traffic between Finland and EU countries that do not belong to the Schengen area, as well as the United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, will be subject to the same assessment criterion concerning the incidence of infections as internal border traffic. In this case, in line with the Government decision, unrestricted travel will be permitted between Finland and Cyprus, Ireland, Andorra, San Marino and the Vatican. The restrictions will continue to be in force for travel between Finland and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, the United Kingdom and Monaco.

On 30 June, the Council of the European Union approved a recommendation (‘green list’) on the lifting of restrictions on border traffic for non-EU countries, also known as third countries. The Council recommends that Member States lift the restrictions at external borders in a coordinated and gradual manner. The lifting of restrictions should begin on 1 July 2020 for the countries on the ‘green list’ in the recommendation.

Traffic between Finland and the countries on the list will be opened up subject to certain restrictions if the number of new infections in the country on the list does not exceed eight per 100,000 persons during the previous two weeks.

This means that as of 13 July, travel between Finland and Algeria, Australia, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China (provided that reciprocity is confirmed in the EU) will be permitted for work and other essential purposes for residents of these countries with similar restrictions as travel at internal borders. 

For countries on the green list where the number of infections exceeds the criterion (Canada, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia) and other third countries, the restrictions on external border traffic will continue.

Return traffic to Finland and other essential traffic will be allowed at the external borders. In addition, transit traffic will be allowed at airports. Family members of Finnish citizens may enter the country regardless of nationality. 

In addition, the entry of berry pickers at the invitation of their employer will be permitted via external border traffic under certain conditions.

If necessary, the restrictions may be reinstated if the epidemic situation in a certain country deteriorates significantly.

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. 

Government decision on border traffic restrictions from 13 July
Border Guard guidelines for border traffic during the pandemic from 13 July 2020
Q&A about the effects of COVID-19 on border traffic
Contact information during emergency conditions
Information on travel restrictions in EU Member States available on the European Commission website

Police monitor compliance with restrictions on gatherings

By decision of the Government, public gatherings are currently limited to no more than 10 persons, and it is advisable to avoid spending unnecessary time in public places. 

The Government has decided to ease the restrictions on the number of people at public events from the current 10 to a maximum of 50 as of 1 June until further notice. At the same time, the Government recommends that private events should not be organised for more than 50 persons.

The Government recommends that as of 1 August 2020, if the development of the epidemic continues in the current direction without any significant setbacks, events with more than 500 persons may be organised in both indoor and outdoor spaces. If the development of the epidemic continues without any significant setbacks, the restrictions on gatherings may be lifted altogether as of 1 October 2020, in which case all indoor and outdoor events would be permitted without restrictions on the number of attendees. 

By decision of the Government, it is prohibited to hold public events and public meetings for more than 500 people until 31 July 2020. Outdoor events with more than 500 attendees are allowed with special separation arrangements.

The police are monitoring compliance with the restrictions on public events within the limits of their resources. Above all else, it is important to continue to avoid all close contacts, comply with the guidelines on hygiene and keep physical distance from other people. 

Guidelines on prevention of coronavirus infections must be followed at public events 15.5. (stm.fi)

How are the police monitoring compliance with the restrictions on gatherings?

Rescue services and emergency response centres provide security in everyday emergencies

Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that rescue services are prepared for the spread of the coronavirus. Rescue services have been instructed on preventing infections. Rescue services are responsible for securing services in cases of illness, for example through personnel arrangements. Priority will be given to urgent situations where the health and lives of humans are at risk and to other emergency calls.

If you suspect that you or someone else has been infected with or exposed to the coronavirus, you should not call the emergency number 112. The emergency number is to be used only in urgent situations when life or health is at risk. The same rule always applies, whether dealing with the coronavirus or any other illness.

For general information about the coronavirus, please contact the national helpline at 0295 535 535, and for health-related advice and guidance, please contact your health centre. 

Reception centres are prepared 

The Finnish Immigration Service is prepared for the possible spread of the coronavirus and is cooperating with the health authorities. Reception centres are prepared for the possible spread of infectious diseases. The employees in reception centres include healthcare personnel.

Asylum seekers are always subject to an initial health check after their arrival in the country. The health check examines individuals’ symptoms and illnesses and takes into account whether they have resided in the area affected by the epidemic. 

Further information on the impact of the coronavirus on the activities of the Finnish Immigration Service