England opens quarantine-free travel to passengers from Finland

The new rules go into place from next Friday 10th July but only in one direction - anyone traveling from the UK to Finland will be expected to self-isolate for the time being.

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File picture of passengers with masks at Helsinki Airport / Credit: Finavia

Anyone in Finland who wants to travel to England this summer will be able to do so without having to quarantine, from 10th July.

On Friday afternoon Boris Johnson’s government announce a list of 73 countries and territories including lots of popular European holiday destinations, which are considered “a reduced risk” for coronavirus.

However, the new rules only apply for travel to England: anyone from Finland who goes to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will still have to self-isolate on arrival. And in the other direction, passengers from anywhere in the United Kingdom will also be required to self-isolate if they come to Finland.

The Finnish government is due to look again at its own travel restrictions by the middle of this month and decide whether to lift the self-isolation requirements for various countries depending on strict criteria for the state of their coronavirus epidemics at that time.

Regional neighbours Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, Faroe Islands and Greenland are also on the new list for quarantine-free travel to England.

However, while neither Sweden nor Russia make the cut because of the continued state of the pandemic, it’s more puzzling why Estonia and Latvia are not included – considering there has been a ‘Baltic travel bubble’ between the three Baltic states for a number of weeks, and because they were considered low risk for Covid-19 by other Nordic nations.

There is a loophole in the new travel arrangements as someone travelling from Tallinn via Helsinki to London will be able to avoid going into self-isolation by honestly stating that they’ve just arrived on a flight from Finland.

And similarly anyone flying from Finland to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland via an airport in England can also likely take advantage of that loophole to avoid self-isolation on arrival at their destination.

Authorities in all parts of the UK can impose fines for people who are supposed to self-isolate, but who don’t.