Coronavirus risk warning for Sweden border crossings

Officials say that with the ongoing coronavirus epidemic in Sweden, and thousands of people crossing each day for work, this is still a risk that the virus is brought over the border into Finland.

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File picture of Tornio-Haparanda border crossing / Credit: Google Maps

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has issued another warning about the risks of spreading coronavirus through border crossings between Finland and Sweden.

THL says that 3,000 Finns work in the Jällivaara area of northern Sweden, and since viral chains associated with commuting are a real possibility, people with even very mild symptoms should go and get tested for Covid-19 right away.

“Rapid detection of coronavirus infections is important to identify potential infections and prevent the disease from spreading” says Taneli Puumalainen, THL’s Chief Physician.

“Anyone with the slightest symptoms of a coronavirus infection should apply for a test at a very low threshold” he adds.

THL is also reminding everyone that it is important for workers returning from Sweden – who are anyway exempt from self-quarantine rules – to follow good hygiene practices, and also avoid unnecessary close contact with other people. The Finnish government and public health authorities continue to advise against leisure trips to Sweden but after a essential journey there, the advice is to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

File picture of Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green), Helsinki, 5th November 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

Easing border restrictions 

Finland’s Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo says at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis countries did their own thing when it came to border restrictions, and there was a lack of European-wide coordination about this issue.

Now however, there is more cohesion among EU and Schengen countries, but still it is up to individual nations to decide their own border policies in this regard.

“The most important and the leading idea of course is to save the health and life of the people living in this country” explains Minister Ohisalo.

“I think everybody understands that all the countries do their own decisions and what I’ve said many times is that Nordic cooperation is really important for Finland, and Sweden is a really good neighbour which together we have really good relationships. This is why for example we have said we are ready to offer help, whatever they need. If they Swedes need testing capacity and we have that, we would probably give that” she tells News Now Finland.

Sweden is still reporting more than 1,300 new cases of coronavirus every day, with more than 5,370 confirmed Covid-19 deaths.

By comparison, Finland had another 22 cases of coronavirus reported over the three day weekend, but no new deaths.