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17 Mar 2020 | 06:39 AM UTC

Finland: Government to close borders as of March 18 /update 1

Government to close borders and announces further domestic restrictions March 18; follow government directives

entry/exit
health
transportation
FIN

Event

Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced a series of entry restrictions as a result of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that will enter into effect on Wednesday, March 18. From this date, Finland is expected to close borders 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. All schools will be suspended while daycare centers will remain open. Gatherings of over ten individuals will also be banned, while museums, theaters, libraries, hobby facilities, and swimming pools will be closed.

The measures are expected to remain in place until Monday, April 13.

As of Tuesday, March 17, heath authorities have confirmed 277 COVID-19 cases and ten recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.  

Context

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.  

Advice

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.