Finland plans to expand quarantine protocols for incoming airline passengers to travellers arriving at seaports. Helsinki's director of health and substance abuse services Leena Turpeinen said that the rules will be applied to harbours from Thursday morning.
She added that the directive to step up monitoring of arriving passengers came from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on Wednesday.
"In accordance with the ministry's order we began to organise the same controls at passenger ports that are already in place at Helsinki Airport," Turpeinen noted.
"We have been meeting ships at Helsinki's West Harbour since morning," she added.
Health screening at harbours
Before they enter Finland, passengers receive a form that asks them to declare their current health status. Once at the harbour, they are divided into two groups. Anyone with respiratory symptoms is directed to health care personnel who administer a coronavirus test.
"After the test, we map out the need for possible treatment. Passengers without symptoms continue to a two-week quarantine at home or other organised accommodation," Turpeinen explained.
Asymptomatic passengers can continue to their homes or other accommodation, either by taxi or using their own vehicles, presumably to quarantine themselves. Passengers arriving in Finland from abroad are prohibited from using public transportation.
Seafaring passengers arriving in Finland enter at ports in Vuosaari in eastern Helsinki, or at the city's the West and South Harbours.
Government has also tightened quarantine practices for all passengers arriving in Finland from overseas. It has called for all incoming travellers to go into quarantine for two weeks.
According to Turpeinen, control checks conducted at harbours on Thursday morning did not turn up any passengers with symptoms.
However passenger traffic at ports is said to be subdued at the moment. Turpeinen said that just a few hundred per day have arrived by ship, with only vessels from Estonia and Germany dropping anchor in Helsinki Thursday morning.