Finnish Foreign Ministry urges against travel to China

The ministry says residents should avoid travel to China because of the public health threat posed by coronavirus.

Finland’s Chinese community has mobilised to buy up facemasks and disinfectant to send to China, where there is a severe shortage of both. Image: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP

Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Friday recommended that people in Finland avoid any unnecessary travel to China. It also urged residents to avoid any trips to Hubei province in central China. The province's capital city, Wuhan, is where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have started.

In its travel advisory, the ministry also told residents to carefully consider any travel to the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.

China has seen an uptick in street crimes since the coronavirus outbreak, according to the ministry, which called on Finns to avoid demonstrations and other large gatherings in the country.

Finland’s public health authority, THL, has declared all of mainland China an epidemic area. This week the public health watchdog expanded its coronavirus advisory to cover arrivals from mainland China.

In its travel advisory, the ministry pointed out that China’s healthcare infrastructure is currently overloaded and that food shortages may occur in the country.

Some 31,500 coronavirus infections have so far been diagnosed, mainly in China, according to THL. Some 250 cases have been confirmed outside China and some 630 infected people have died.

Finland's Foreign Ministry highlighted that Chinese authorities have restricted traffic across the country, including suspending outbound travel from certain cities.

Last week, Finland’s national carrier, Finnair, announced it was cancelling all of its flights to mainland areas of China from 6-29 February.