Preparing for coronavirus outbreak

The Ministry of the Interior’s branch of government (e.g. the Border Guard, police, rescue services, Emergency Response Centre Agency) sees to everyday safety and security and to the implementation of the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic related to its field of activity. 

Ministry is responsible for law drafting

As part of its mandate, the Ministry of the Interior drafts legislative amendments and prepares measures for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in close cooperation with its agencies and other ministries. The Ministry is also responsible for international and EU cooperation related to its tasks.

Restrictions on entry into Finland during the coronavirus pandemic

The Border Guard controls Finland's border traffic at airports, ports and border crossing points. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, entry into Finland is restricted from countries where the coronavirus situation is worse than in Finland.  The Government decides on restrictions on border traffic at regular intervals on the basis of the epidemiological situation. 

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare are responsible for assessing the epidemiological situation, quarantine instructions and testing guidelines. The branch of government of the Ministry of Transport and Communications supports the authorities responsible for managing the situation. The mandate of the Ministry of Transport and Communications covers different modes of transport and related restrictions (air transport, shipping).

The Border Guard implements the restrictions on border traffic and carries out internal border control in accordance with the decisions of the Government and the Schengen acquis. Border checks are carried out for countries that are subject to internal or external border control in accordance with the decisions of the Government. 

Right to travel and return to Finland

Restrictions on border traffic do not affect the fact that Finnish citizens always have the right to return to Finland. Everyone also has the right to leave Finland if they so wish, provided that there is no legal impediment to this. The Government still recommends avoiding unnecessary travel to countries where the coronavirus outbreak is worse than in Finland. 

Traffic light model to help in the assessment of risks associated with foreign travel (thl.fi)

Read more: 
Restrictions on border traffic in force from 24 August
Government decision on border traffic restrictions from 24 August
Q&A about the effects of COVID-19 on border traffic
Contact information during emergency conditions
Information on travel restrictions in EU Member States available on the European Commission website

Cooperation at border crossing points

Many authorities are involved in implementing the restrictions on travel and border traffic, such as several ministries, the Border Guard, Customs, the municipalities and cities of border crossing points, operators at border crossings (e.g. Finavia), airlines, and shipping companies. Health authorities are responsible for hygiene and quarantine instructions for passengers.

Read more about the measures taken by the health authorities to combat the coronavirus pandemic and about cooperation between the authorities:

Travel and the coronavirus pandemic (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)
Cooperation group on health security at border crossing points
Health security of borders to be improved by new measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)

Restrictions on gatherings

The task of the police is to ensure that public meetings and public events are organised in compliance with the maximum number of participants and the Assembly Act. The police do not monitor compliance with hygiene instructions; instead, the organiser of the event is responsible for that in accordance with the regulations issued by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.

Rescue services and emergency response centres provide security in everyday emergencies

Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that rescue services are prepared for the spread of the coronavirus. Rescue services have been instructed on preventing infections. Rescue services are responsible for securing services in cases of illness, for example through personnel arrangements. Priority will be given to urgent situations where the health and lives of humans are at risk and to other emergency calls.

If you suspect that you or someone else has been infected with or exposed to the coronavirus, you should not call the emergency number 112. The emergency number is to be used only in urgent situations when life or health is at risk. The same rule always applies, whether dealing with the coronavirus or any other illness.

For general information about the coronavirus, please contact the national helpline at 0295 535 535, and for health-related advice and guidance, please contact your health centre. 

Reception centres are prepared 

The Finnish Immigration Service is prepared for the possible spread of the coronavirus and is cooperating with the health authorities. The Finnish Immigration Service ensures that asylum seekers are also provided with up-to-date instructions on coronavirus and recommendations. Reception centres are prepared for the possible spread of infectious diseases. The employees in reception centres include healthcare personnel.

Asylum seekers are always subject to an initial health check after their arrival in the country. The health check examines individuals’ symptoms and illnesses and takes into account whether they have resided in the area affected by the epidemic. 

Further information on the impact of the coronavirus on the activities of the Finnish Immigration Service