HELSINKI, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Finnish government on Friday evening announced stricter restrictions on entry to the country from the rest of the European Union (EU) and a larger testing plan for arrivals, in an effort to curb the spread of the more infectious variants of COVID-19.
Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo said at a press conference that work-based travel from other EU countries will be restricted to only essential services. Acute family reasons would also be accepted and transit travel will be allowed.
The restrictions will take effect next week. Ohisalo underlined that the rights of Finnish citizens to leave and return will not be affected. However, she appealed to Finns to avoid traveling.
Krista Kiuru, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, said all passengers in ports of entry will be subject to testing as of next week. It will be feasible now as the number of people arriving will be reduced. So far Finland has been able to test arrivals at airports, while the large number of people entering through harbors has not been technically possible.
Kiuru noted that the testing effort is the largest health measure in Finland ever. She said the challenge is the largest on the land border to Sweden, and called on the locals there to reduce their need to cross the border.
Further domestic measures, concerning restrictions inside Finland, will be decided upon on Monday, Kiuru said.