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Finland charters buses, taxis for returnees

Around 6,000 people are expected to return from abroad this weekend.

Finnairin lentokoneita Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä
Local trains stopped servicing Helsinki Airport on Friday. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

The state is providing free bus and taxi rides at airports as travellers are no longer allowed to board public transport to get home, according to officials.

The government has ordered everyone entering Finland to self-isolate for two weeks as soon as they set foot in the country.

Ahti Kurvinen, director of government security, said the state would charter taxi and bus rides (siirryt toiseen palveluun) for travellers unable to secure private transportation.

Local trains stopped servicing Helsinki Airport on Friday afternoon. However no official measures are in place to enforce adherence to the rules.

Some 6,000 people are expected to arrive in Finland from abroad this weekend.

Four streams

Before boarding those returning to Finland must fill out a form detailing their destination, how they plan to get home and explain any possible health symptoms. Based on their answers, passengers are grouped into one of four categories, according to Kurvinen.

People who self-report as healthy and have a ride home can leave the airport after collecting their luggage.

A traveller suspecting they may have Covid-19 will be guided to an airport health checkpoint for assessment and possible testing. Passengers in this category may be sent to stay at a hotel to await test results--along with any co-travelling family members.

Returnees not exhibiting any symptoms--but who rely on public transport--will be sent home in a special bus or taxi.

Passengers without a residence in Finland will be housed in emergency accommodation for two weeks.

Travellers foot bill for accommodation

People arriving in Finland without a place to stay will be directed to housing organised by private social and health care service provider Luona. Users will be liable to cover the cost of their accommodation, which is estimated at tens of euros per day.

Kurvinen said officials at the airport had the right to place sick individuals under quarantine.

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