Government’s new plans to open up travel branded as “far too complicated”

Finland has the lowest coronavirus infection rates in Europe at present buy no other countries would meet the new higher limits.

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File picture of husky sled ride in Lapland / Credit: iStock

New proposals to make it easier for foreign tourists to come to Finland have been described as “far too complicated” by the Chairman of the Social Affairs and Health Committee in parliament.

The government’s proposals would mean tourists from high risk countries, with up to 100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks, could travel to Finland with a negative test before their trip, if the trip lasts up to three day.

If their visit lasts between three and six days a second negative test would be required; and if the trip lasts more than six days the passenger would have to self-isolate for three days on arrival and then get another negative test after that.

Critics have questions who monitors the quarantine period, and who ensures that every traveler takes the required number of tests?

“This proposal has not been approved by the Center Party and I personally see that it cannot proceed as such. Now this is far too complicated an arrangement that does not work in practice and cannot be implemented and monitored” MP Markus Lohi (Centre) tells MTV News.

Cross-border communities, particularly along the northern border with Sweden and Norway, would be exempt from the proposed new testing and quarantine rules.

Currently, Finland has set a maximum coronavirus rate of 25 positive cases per 100,000 population in the last fortnight before countries face restrictions. The EU wants that upper limit set to 50 cases, while the new Finnish proposals would see it raised again to 100, as a way to encourage more travelers. The government has faced sustained pressure from airlines, the travel industry, and regional tourist promotion authorities to relax its rules on tourism.

At present there are no EU countries inside Finland’s 25 limit. According to the European Centre for Disease Control Finland’s own rate is 52.9, the lowest in Europe, while the rates for some other countries are:

  • Sweden 346.7
  • Estonia 137.5
  • Norway 128.0
  • Denmark 249.4
  • Germany 286.6
  • France 958.3
  • Spain 602.7
  • UK 478.1

A draft of the new legislation has now been opened up for comments, however it could take several months for it to come into effect.