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Ministries set up working group to coordinate fight against COVID-19 epidemic at border crossing points  

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 13.7.2020 20.47
Press release 489/2020

In its written procedure on 13 July, the Government decided to establish an interministerial working group tasked with ensuring health security at border crossing points.

The Government is preparing for an increase in passenger numbers at Finland’s border crossing points, and, with this in mind, the decision aims to mitigate the epidemiological situation as effectively as possible as traffic picks up.

Under section 7 of the Communicable Diseases Act, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the general planning, steering and monitoring of the prevention of infectious diseases, for preparing for healthcare disturbances on a national scale and for operating as a leader in such situations. 

In line with this mandate, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has appointed a working group aiming to ensure seamless cooperation between the authorities and other relevant operators in combating the COVID-19 epidemic at border crossing points.

In addition to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the working group will include at least the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Regional State Administrative Agency, the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and Finavia. The work will also involve cooperation with representatives from local governments and regional administrative authorities responsible for combating infectious diseases at each border crossing point and at Lappeenranta airport as appropriate.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will draw up a plan to ensure health security at entry points and will be in charge of leading the work to implement the plan. Each of the ministries, authorities and other operators in the working group will be responsible for implementing the plan based on their respective mandates and spheres of competence. The Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services will lead the cooperation between the Ministers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the need for a variety of measures at Finland’s borders. Numerous different operators have been involved in these measures, each acting in accordance with its own legislation. Different networks have agreed on cooperation depending on the situation, and administrative assistance has been used as needed. The new working group will continue to coordinate cooperation between the authorities at the borders in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. 

The tasks and term of office of the working group are specified in more detail in the appointment decision. The responsibility for implementing the measures will remain with the competent authorities, but the working group will ensure that no situation is ignored while combating the epidemic at border crossing points.

Inquiries: Pekka Tulokas, Director for Preparedness and chair of the working group, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] and Päivi Anttikoski, Director of Government Communications, tel. +358 40 5364821.
 

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