Early on Saturday, Finland’s land borders with Sweden and Norway re-opened for unrestricted travel for the first time since early April.
As of midnight, Finnish authorities also lifted restrictions on entry for travel between Finland and Cyprus, Germany, Iceland, Poland and the Vatican.
The change also affects residents of Australia, Canada and Japan who are travelling from their home country to Finland. The same applies to residents of Georgia, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Meanwhile restrictions on entry into the country have been re-imposed between Finland and Hungary and Italy.
"In practice, the ending of internal border control means that the border guard men leave the border crossing points and inspection operations halt," said the deputy commander of the Lapland Border Guard, Lt. Col. Janne Kurvinen.
"Since midnight it’s possible to enter Finland freely from Sweden and Norway, including via the green border" – in other words the territory between official border control points, he said.
Border Guard staff from other parts of the country who had been transferred to northern Finland to assist the Lapland Border Guard are now returning to their normal bases.
No need to self-isolate on return to Finland
According to the Finnish government’s decision on 10 September, restrictions can be lifted for traffic between Finland and EU and Schengen countries where the incidence of Covid-19 has not exceeded 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous two weeks. Until Friday, the limit was 8–10. The new limit also applies to the UK.
As the number of cases fluctuate, the situation will be re-evaluated on a weekly basis, with changes taking effect the following week. As a result, travel to and from Sweden, for instance, may be once again restricted next Thursday when the government reconsiders the situation, as Sweden's rate has fluctuated around the 25-case mark.
The changes are partly aimed at rescuing the winter tourism season in northern Finland.
When restrictions are waived, people from those countries may visit Finland for recreational travel, while those who visit these countries no longer need to self-isolate when they get back to Finland.