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Finland to tighten travel restrictions for Estonia, Sweden

New quarantine rules are to go into effect next Monday.

Ilmakuva Helsingin Länsisatamasta.
Aerial view of Helsinki West Terminal, file photo. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Following a rise in coronavirus infection rates in Sweden and Estonia, Finland will implement new restrictions on travellers arriving from those countries.

"If you go on a holiday trip to Tallinn, then a two-week quarantine recommendation goes into effect," Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Kirsi Pimiä told Yle.

The new restrictions are to go into effect on Monday, 28 September, just over one week after Finland relaxed travel rules.

Finland eased its rules on 19 September, opening up travel from countries with fewer than 25 coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants during the preceding two weeks. Previously the limit was eight infections per 100,000.

According to recent statistics from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Sweden had an infection rate of 26.7 per 100,000 residents and Estonia's number was 30.9.

Earlier on Tuesday, interior minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) told tabloid Ilta-Sanomat that people would still be able to travel to and from work and conduct other daily business between Finland and Estonia.

"Commuting to work in this situation can continue without quarantine recommendations in accordance with the government's decisions, if there is not a big difference in infection rates between Estonia and Finland," Ohisalo said.

Lieutenant Colonel Ilkka Herranen, an information specialist, at the Border Guard, said that implementing the quarantine recommendation rules would "most obviously" also mean restoring checks at Finland's land border crossings with Sweden as well as Norway.

"It is entirely possible that border checks and controls will be restored. The Border Guard is fully prepared for this," Herranen said.

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