Finland is relaxing coronavirus-related entry restrictions for visitors on Friday 1 July, the Border Guard announced on Tuesday.
Starting that day, people arriving from abroad will no longer be required to show proof of Covid vaccinations or tests. Meanwhile, onsite border crossing Covid testing will also end.
The change mainly affects travellers arriving from outside of the EU and Schengen countries, including the US, UK, Russia and Turkey. The Border Guard has guidance (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on the rules that are in effect until Friday.
The agency said it expects that relaxing border restrictions would likely increase the number of arrivals at Finland's eastern border.
THL: Cases down
Covid cases, including ones that cause hospitalisations, deaths and ICU admissions, are still declining in Finland, despite signs that the pandemic might be bouncing back in the rest of Europe, according to the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Coronavirus infections have declined steadily across all age groups since the last wave observed between March and April.
Vaccines are still effective in protecting against a serious infection, however their protection is only temporary, the agency noted in a press release (siirryt toiseen palveluun).
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health updated its vaccination strategy last week. Its main goal is to keep society open and reduce the risk of serious infection by vaccinating as many people as possible, particularly those belonging to risk groups.
Jab strategy likely to be updated
To date, THL has recommended four vaccination doses to people over the age of 80 and those in risk groups. The rest of the population has been recommended three doses.
"It is important to understand for whom Covid vaccinations are aimed and what kind of protection people can expect from the vaccines," THL's leading physician Hanna Nohynek said in the statement.
However the agency anticipates a new wave of infections to arrive in the autumn and that it is considering expanding the fourth dose recommendation to the entire population in order to minimise the risks posed by a resurgence of the virus.
The agency added that it will most likely be updating its vaccination guidance in coming weeks.
Would you like a roundup of the week's top stories in your inbox every Thursday? Then sign up to receive our weekly email!