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Police warn motorists not to try their luck getting across capital region border as 850 turned away

A number of “chancers” tried to cross the border despite having no pressing need to do so, police said, after routes into and out of the Uusimaa region were closed off for all but essential travel on Friday night.

Poliisi pysäyttää auton Pukkilan karanteeni rajalla.
Pukkilassa maakuntarajan valvontapisteellä on käynyt muutamia vain tutustumassa tilanteeseen. Valtaosa kulkijoista on ollut liikkeellä aiheesta. Image: Ville Airaksinen / Yle

Police turned away 835 motorists trying to cross the border into or out of the capital region during the first day of new movement restrictions designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Rules which came into force at midnight on Friday made it illegal for residents to cross the boundary into or out of Uusimaa, the province containing Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo, for all but essential reasons.

On Sunday morning police announced that 16,555 motorists attempted to cross the checkpoints which have been set up on roads out of the region since the restrictions were introduced.

Of those refused permission to cross the border - which is granted only in cases where it is necessary for work, the carrying out of official duties, or certain personal reasons – only one person was issued with a fine, police said.

Train travel into and out of Uusimaa fell to just 746 passengers, of whom 19 were turned away at the border.

“The police cannot give anyone prior permission to pass through a checkpoint,” Superintendent Juha Hietala said.

“Everyone must come to the checkpoint ready to show sufficient verbal or written justification for crossing and police will make an immediate case-by-case assessment,” he said.

Police have told those needing to cross the border to expect queues of up to an hour and a half while checks are carried out.

DuringSunday night 1,702 vehicles attempted the crossing, and 58 were refused.

On Saturday evening Superintendent Heikki Porola said a number of“chancers” came to the border in order to see if they could cross despite having no pressing need to do so.

“We ask the public to avoid this behaviour,” he said. “It needlessly slows down traffic.”

On Twitter police warned motorists not to try and get around the checkpoints by using smaller roads, as these are also being monitored.

The closure of the Uusimaa border is currently scheduled to last until 19 April.

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