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Sweden’s coronavirus level surpasses maximum for entry into Finland, but border to open anyway

People will be able to travel from Sweden into Finland without restrictions as of next Saturday despite the higher rate of infection.

THL:n johtaja Mika Salminen ministereiden tiedotustilaisuudessa Säätytalon portailla Helsingissä 11. syyskuuta.
THL health security director Mika Salminen spoke to reporters at the House of Estates on Friday. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

The rate of coronavirus cases in neighbouring Sweden has already surpassed the maximum level set by the Finnish government on Friday as a prerequisite for entry into the country. Visitors will still be allowed to enter Finland beginning next weekend, though.

Mika Salminen, Director of Health Security at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), told Yle on Sunday that Sweden’s current infection level will not immediately affect border entry.

He said that the infection situation in Sweden and other countries will be re-evaluated on Thursday.

However, people will be allowed to enter Finland from Sweden without restrictions as of next Saturday regardless of what decisions are made this week. Any possible changes to border traffic will not take effect until the following week.

"Trends are important"

According to Saturday’s update from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Sweden’s 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases had risen to 25.7 per 100,000 inhabitants – just over the 25-case maximum set as a requirement for entry to Finland.

Sunday’s update shows the rate dropping back below that limit, to 24 new cases per 100,000 people.

On Friday, too, Sweden’s rate was just below the 25-case level.

Salminen said that the 25-case restriction is absolute, but that it is based on the two-week average and that minor day-to-day fluctuations do not significantly change the risk level.

"Trends are important and the situation in Sweden is improving. But if that changes, of course the border decisions will also change," Salminen said. He added that restrictions cannot be changed on a daily basis, as people and companies must be able to make plans.

So far 5,846 people have died of Covid-19 in Sweden, compared to 337 in Finland. Sweden's population is nearly twice as large as Finland's.

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