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Finland to restrict entry from Southern Africa due to new virus variant

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 28.11.2021 14.04
Press release 154/2021

As of 15.00 on Sunday 28 November, Finland will restrict entry into the country at its external borders for travellers who have been in Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe during the 14 days prior to their arrival in Finland. The Government adopted a decision on the matter on 28 November.

In line with the decision, travellers who have been in one of the above-mentioned African countries will not be able to enter Finland by presenting a certificate of full vaccination against COVID-19.  A person may enter Finland from these countries only if they have an essential reason for doing so, such as compelling family matters or another compelling personal reason.

However, Finnish citizens and permanent residents of Finland may always return to Finland.

These restrictions on entry will be in effect until 19 December. 

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health believes that the new virus variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) detected in Africa may pose a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of the population and cause the epidemiological situation to deteriorate. The Ministry and the Regional State Administrative Agencies have instructed municipalities to implement health security measures, i.e. compulsory health examinations for people entering the country. Municipalities are responsible for health security measures at border crossing points, ports and airports.

The Border Guard checks passengers entering the country and supports the health authorities

There are no direct flights to Finland from Southern Africa. The Border Guard analyses passenger traffic arriving in Finland and provides information to the health authorities. At Finland’s external borders, the Finnish Border Guard screens passengers from high-risk areas for examination by the health authorities. 

The decision entering into force today does not restrict internal border traffic from Schengen countries. At Finland’s internal borders, the Border Guard assists the health authorities at their request. Safe entry into the country is being ensured in line with the model for entry into the country under the Communicable Diseases Act. 

The entry into force of the Government’s previous decision from 25 November 2021 has been moved up so that the decision will enter into force on 28 November at 15.00. Namibia will be removed from the list of countries appended to the previous decision.

It is still possible to enter Finland from all other countries upon presenting a certificate of full vaccination with an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated people will be subject to restrictions on entry. 

See the websites below for more information on the entry restrictions and health security requirements in place.