Sign up for our newsletter ⟩
News |

Vantaa mayor slams border restriction extension

The City of Vantaa is responsible for carrying out the coronavirus-related operations at the airport, and spends about one million euros per week on those efforts.

Saapuvien aula Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä.
Passengers at Helsinki Airport. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

The mayor of Vantaa, home to Finland's busiest airport, has criticised the government's plan to extend coronavirus-related border restrictions until the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the government proposed that the current entry restrictions should be kept in place until the end of December.

Mayor Ritva Viljanen said that as passenger numbers increase, there's a risk of "chaos" at Helsinki Airport due to health inspections of arriving international passengers.

"There are insufficient facilities for [required Covid] inspections at the airport. The airport doesn't have facilities and there will be complete chaos," she said.

Passenger volumes at the airport are expected to double from current levels by the end of the year. According to Viljanen, the facility is already congested due to the inspections.

At the beginning of September it was reported that there were intermittent periods of congestion not seen in a long time at the airport.

The City of Vantaa is responsible for carrying out the coronavirus-related operations at the airport, and spends about one million euros per week on those efforts.

Stricter than EU

Viljanen said that the government's decision to keep the border restrictions in place was also costly for Finland as a whole, adding that due to the country's broadened vaccination coverage, there was no longer a need to check the Covid status of every arrival from abroad.

She said that Finland's border policy had deviated from practices across Europe, adding that an EU-wide Covid border policy should have been introduced by now. Finland's country Covid risk assessment is also stricter than that recommended by the EU.

Viljanen said that Vantaa would need health care workers to take care of other tasks in the city besides monitoring arriving passengers.

Generally, other European countries check passengers' vaccination certificates. But in Finland health authorities are required to interview each arriving passenger and to examine their documents.

"If a person is arriving from a country with a particularly high risk, then of course targeted checks would be made, but otherwise spot checks are adequate," Viljanen said.

Latest in: News

Headlines

Our picks

Latest

Muualla Yle.fi:ssä