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Finland to let Swedes enter despite higher infection rate

Published : 13 Sep 2020, 22:11

Updated : 14 Sep 2020, 00:14

  DF Report

Finland-Sweden border at Tornio. File Photo Finnish Police.

Travelling from Sweden will be allowed from 19 September, although the maximum infection level set by the Finnish government has already surpassed in the next-door neighbour, the national broadcaster Yle reported on Sunday, quoting a high official of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

THL Health Security Director Mika Salminen told the Yle that Sweden’s current infection level will not immediately affect border entry and the infection situation in Sweden and other countries will be re-evaluated on Thursday.

Earlier, on 11 September, citing its criteria for “safe countries” for COVID-19, the Finnish government decided to ease travel restrictions for citizens of several countries.

Finland defined 25 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous two weeks as the limit value above which citizens of any given country may or may not be permitted to enter the country.

Travellers from countries where the infection rate does not exceed this limit value would be allowed to enter Finland without the requirement to spend two weeks in quarantine.

Based on the new criteria, Finland will lift travel restrictions for residents of Iceland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Cyprus, and Germany from 19 September. The same rule will apply to citizens of the non-EU countries Australia, Canada, and Japan.

Sweden’s 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases had increased to 25.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the update from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Saturday.

On Sunday, the rate, however, decreased to below that limit to 24 new cases per 100,000 people, while, on Friday, it was just below 25.

Salminen told the Yle that the 25-case restriction is absolute, but that it is based on the two-week average and that minor day-to-day fluctuations do not significantly change the risk level.

“Trends are important and the situation in Sweden is improving. But if that changes, of course the border decisions will also change,” the Yle report quoted Salminen as saying, adding that restrictions cannot be changed on a daily basis, as people and companies must be able to make plans.