Aiming to avoid further growth in new coronavirus cases, Finnish authorities want to introduce new border entry rules, according to Minister for Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (SDP).
She made the comments on Yle TV1 A-Studio programme on Tuesday evening.
"The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of the Interior proposed [on Tuesday] to the government that restrictions on entry should be significantly tightened," Kiuru said.
The ministerial proposal spells out that all people entering Finland from outside the EU-Schengen area would need to show a negative Covid test certificate that was issued within 48 hours of arrival. Kiuru said discussions were ongoing on arranging the transition timeline for the effort.
Kiuru noted that the social affairs and health ministry and the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) also proposed that arrivals from non-Schengen countries would need to take their Covid tests before departing for Finland. Additionally, all people entering the country — including Finnish citizens — would be advised to take a home Covid test immediately upon arrival.
Another proposal, according to Kiuru, health authorities have proposed that passengers arriving from countries in which the epidemic situation has significantly deteriorated should be required to undergo health checks — which in practice means taking a Covid test — upon arrival. These countries currently include Denmark, Norway and the UK, for example.
"We cannot wait to catch this virus at the borders," she said.
Vaccinations over Christmas
Kiuru said it is important for Finland to expedite the pace of Covid vaccinations and characterised the current pace as slow.
"We need to acknowledge that the world already has concrete examples of the tidal wave that's in store if we don't protect ourselves," she said.
Kiuru said that third doses of the Covid vaccine are vital because the protections of double vaccinations are beginning to wane.
She said that vaccinations should also continue during the Christmas holiday, a period when the country all but shuts down under normal circumstances.
In order for municipalities to be able to administer vaccines, Kiuru said occupational health care workers should be called upon to help. Additionally, she said a group of ministers met on Tuesday suggesting that retired health care workers and students in the field should be called upon to administer third jabs.
"We have a large population of skilled people in the field who could join in if they were asked," Kiuru said.