On Wednesday, April 15, the government announced that the existing travel restrictions for the Uusimaa region will be lifted as of 13:00 (local time) on Wednesday amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Uusimaa residents were originally prohibited from leaving the region and residents of other regions forbidden entry into Uusimaa.
On Friday, April 3, all bars and restaurants were closed nationwide until Sunday, May 31.
On Tuesday, April 7, authorities extended border restrictions to and from the country until Wednesday, May 13. The Finnish government had already restricted travel across its northern borders to commuters but now only the most essential workers will be allowed to cross with proof of their importance from their employers. Finland's borders remain closed to passenger traffic with the exception of returning Finnish citizens and residents. Finnish citizens and permanent residents will consequently be required to observe a two-week period of self-quarantine.
As of Tuesday, April 14, health authorities have confirmed 3161 COVID-19 cases and 64 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labelled the outbreak as pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.