The government of Finland stated on Thursday that it is going to lift the coronavirus or COVID-19 related restrictions on the leisure traveling to and from the neighboring Baltic and Nordic nations, except Sweden.
"Unfortunately, the epidemic situation in Sweden does not enable giving up the restrictions yet," Maria Ohisalo, the Minister of Interior told reporters. Travel restrictions are going to be lifted on June 15 for the tourists to and from Denmark, Iceland, Norway along those from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where the rate of infection has decreased to similar levels to Finland, Ohisalo mentioned.
Finland to Lift Travel Restrictions on June 15
Restrictions will continue to be imposed on Finland's eastern land border with Russia and on the western border with Sweden, the government said. "Sweden is a very important border neighbor and partner country for Finland... For Sweden's part, the restrictions will be lifted as soon as the epidemic situation permits," Ohisalo said.
Transit traffic via Helsinki airport will be allowed, which will enable national carrier Finnair to restart connecting flights from Asia to Europe, the government said. Sweden has adopted fewer restrictive measures to contain the disease than its neighbors and by June 10, Sweden's COVID-19 deaths were 4,717 - four times the number in the other Nordic countries combined, with 593 in Denmark, 324 in Finland, 239 in Norway and 10 in Iceland.
"We hope for reciprocity," in lifting the restrictions, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said, adding Norway and Denmark had promised to consider adding Finland to their travel bubble. The epidemic has slowed in Finland, with the total number of cases at 7,040 on Wednesday and 28 patients hospitalized, of which only 4 are in intensive care, health officials said. Public gatherings, such as sport events, of more than 500 people will be allowed if social distancing rules can be respected from the beginning of July, the government added.
(With agency inputs)