Border to Finland in the north. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Finland prolongs closed borders until May 13th

Restrictions on border traffic and quarantine rules are tightened even more as the Finnish government aims at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
April 07, 2020

The Finnish Government on April 7th adopted decisions to prolong and tighten the border closure, including land-borders to Norway, Russia and Sweden.

The borders, which practically have been closed for non-essential travelers since March 19th, will remain closed for another five weeks.

New stricter rules imply to all employees that today are commuting across the borders up north, either to Norway or Sweden.

“The Government’s aim is to further reduce movement in the common travel-to-work area along the borders with Sweden and Norway.”

These are the stricter measures, as listed by the Finnish Border Guards:

  • Cross-border workers must stay in quarantine-like conditions when home in Finland.
  • Fright transport drivers will be provided with instructions on how to reduce the risk of infections and how to stay under quarantine-like conditions.
  • Employers are urged to explore ways to reduce the cross-border movement of workers, for example by accommodation workers near the place of employment.
  • Employees must have a certificate from their employer stating that the work is essential.

The Finnish Border Guards reported on twitter last week that some 800 people are daily crossing the northern land border to and from Sweden, while the number of people crossing between Finland and Norway is 400 per day.

In the north, Finland has six cross-border roads to Norway: Neiden (Näätämö), Kilpisjärvi, Karigasniemi, Kivilompolo, Nuorgam, and Utsjoki.

No snow-mobiles 

The Border Guards underlines that it is strictly forbidden to cross the border at any other place than the official roads.

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In April, that means nobody will be allowed to cross the border via the snow-mobile tracks. Also, people can’t ski across the borders along the Tana River between Norway and Finland, or the two border rivers Tornio River and Muonio River that forms the border between Sweden and Finland. 

80-90% is cargo 

Cargo transport, like food deliveries, to Norway’s northernmost region for the most goes through Finland.

Trucks will continue to be allowed to drive across borders up north. Traffic volumes at the land borders between Finland and Sweden and between Finland and Norway have decreased from normal by around 95%.

At the moment, about 80–90% of traffic is freight transport.

Trucks with food and supplies will still be allowed to cross the borders to northern Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

 

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