HELSINKI, KOMPAS.com – As Covid-19 cases rise across Europe, Finland reintroduces travel restrictions to curb the second wave of coronavirus infection in the region.
On Wednesday, the Finnish government will reinstate travel restrictions for Iceland, Greece, Malta, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus, San Marino and Japan.
Several of the countries had been considered safe destinations for months.
The latest Finland travel restrictions will go into effect on August 24 and travelers from the 10 countries will be limited to essential trips.
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People returning from those countries will be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks, according to Finland’s Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo.
Prior to Wednesday's announcement, Finland had already restricted traveling to and from most other countries around the globe.
In June, Finland's government set a maximum of eight to 10 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over two weeks for countries to be considered safe destinations.
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Gradually, it has been removing countries from its list of safe destinations as a second wave of infections has crept from one country to another.
"Our strong message is that traveling to risky countries should be avoided. Returning to Finland from them will lead to quarantine and trouble," Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka told reporters.
Finland's own 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants stood at 5.2 on Tuesday, among the lowest rates in Europe, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
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But the number of cases has been on the rise in recent weeks, with health authorities counting a total of 7,776 cases and 334 deaths in Finland and a rise of 24 new cases and one death on Tuesday.
Harakka said 43 cases had been detected on travelers arriving on three different Wizz Air flights from Skopje in North Macedonia to Turku in Finland recently and authorities were looking into ways of canceling the connection.
(Writer: Anne Kauranen | Editor: Lincoln Feast)
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