Border Guard, ministers, unsighted about UK-Finland “travel corridor” plan

The BBC reports that British ministers are set to make an announcement as early as this weekend about a quarantine-free travel route between UK and Finland.

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File picture showing flight departure board at Helsinki Airport / Credit: News Now Finland

The BBC reports that Boris Johnson’s government is set to announce a list of countries, including Finland, to be part of a scheme for travel in both directions with no quarantine restrictions.

These “travel corridors” would be formed with countries that have low instances of coronavirus like France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Norway and Germany.

According to the BBC “the initial list of destinations exempt from the quarantine is expected to take effect early next month.”

The only problem is, nobody’s told the Finns, even though an announcement could apparently come as early as the weekend from British ministers.

“A travel corridor would mean that two people travelling in both directions between two countries would not have to self-isolate after they travel” the BBC explains.

However a travel corridor is “not currently in preparation” confirms Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo‘s office, while a senior official with the Border Guard tells News Now Finland they haven’t heard of any such scheme either.

Currently only residents of Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania can come to Finland without self-isolating.

Under new rules outlined this week, Finland will ease restrictions for a number of EU and Schengen countries from the middle of July based on the state of their coronavirus epidemics at that time. Those countries include Ireland, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and several others, if there are no more than eight new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous 14 days.

The UK is not currently on that list, although the Border Guard says it will be reviewed regularly, and with a final decision to be taken by 10th July there is still a possibility of the UK being included.

However, the decision hinges on how will the UK is tackling the coronavirus epidemic. In the last 24 hours there were 653 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Britain and 154 deaths. In total there have been more than 300,000 coronavirus cases and more than 43,000 deaths in the UK so far.

Currently UK residents can come to Finland if they are returning Finnish citizens; if they hold a Finnish residence permit; if they are coming to Finland to work; or for other personal reasons “which are assessed on a case-by-case basis” according to Border Guard guidelines.

The latest advice for these travelers is that they should self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Finland.