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Gov't lifts restrictions on domestic leisure travel

The recommendation specifically relates to domestic and not overseas travel and takes effect immediately.

Kuvassa on Lasipalatsinaukio Helsingissä.
The new policy comes as schoolchildren head off for their summer holidays. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva
Yle News

The government announced on Friday that it was immediately dismantling restrictions on domestic leisure travel, but urged people to comply with safety guidelines to contain the coronavirus epidemic.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintilä said that the easing of restrictions applied specifically to domestic and not overseas leisure trips.

"Resuming domestic travel is a rational decision. As the minister responsible for tourism I think it is important to revive Finnish tourism and the economy, of course with safety first, "Lintilä said.

"It is clear that the tourism sector has suffered from coronavirus and we can ease the situation with the help of domestic tourism. Because the epidemic is not yet over, I call on travellers and tourism entrepreneurs to do all we can to ensure safe tourism," he added.

Rapid changes possible

Previously, the government had advised people to avoid unnecessary travel such as holidays, including here in Finland. However it said that during the current stage of the epidemic, domestic travel would not significantly increase the spread of the disease or overburden health care systems in local travel destinations.

Nevertheless, it called on people to be on their guard for rapid regional changes and elevated local risk levels.

On Thursday, Social Affairs and Health Ministry permanent secretary Kirsi Varhila reminded the public of the government’s previous guidance to avoid domestic leisure travel. At the time she said, however, that government would be reviewing the policy in the days ahead.

Lapland medical chief: Don't travel while sick

Meanwhile Lapland hospital district medical chief Markku Broas said that people who are ill should not travel and that those with even the mildest respiratory infection symptoms should immediately get tested for the virus to ensure it does not spread.

"The prevalence of the disease has been reduced nationwide. Although in the capital region the source of half of new infections is not known," Broas said.

No new infections have been recorded in Lapland since Wednesday, when the Länsi-Pohja hospital district reported one case.

A total of 239 people have tested positive for the disease in Lapland so far. The national total stands at 6,776 cases, of which 4,900 are in the Helsinki and Uusimaa region.

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