Interior Minister warns over “unnecessary” Sweden border crossings

The number of people crossing the border between Tornio and Haparanda has surged in the last week, even before travel restrictions are officially eased.

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File picture of Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) near the northern border with Sweden / Credit: Border Guard

Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) has warned people against making “unnecessary” border crossings because the coronavirus epidemic is still ongoing.

The minister made the comments during a visit to Tornio to meet Border Guard officers in Tornio, and see first hand the situation on the northern border with Sweden where the number of crossings to and from Haparanda has surged in the last week – before restrictions have officially eased.

“Unnecessary border crossings should still be avoided, as the coronavirus epidemic is not over in Finland or in neighbouring countries. The situation is still serious” says Ohisalo.

“So far, we have succeeded well in preventing the spread of the virus, and thank so this go to the responsible Finns who have taken the restrictions and recommendations seriously” the minister adds.

The Länsi-Pohja region in southwest Lapland has by far the highest incidence of coronavirus per capita outside of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Health District. Closing the northern border with Sweden, where there have been more than 3,200 coronavirus deaths so far, is credited with keeping that number lower than it might otherwise have been.

At present only essential journeys are allowed, including family visits and for healthcare staff who travel from their homes in Finland into Sweden each day. Those restrictions have been in place since the middle of March and are set to be eased on 14th May.