Finland has taken a further step towards imposing mandatory negative coronavirus tests for visitors in their countries of origin.
According to a press release, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has sent out for comments a proposal for amendments to the Act on Transport Services. It is proposed that new provisions be added to the Act on the inspection of a negative infectious disease test result and the presentation of a certificate, if the infectious disease situation so requires.
The proposal states that the transportation service provider should verify that passengers in cross-border traffic can present a negative coronavirus test result. Passengers would be required to obtain a certificate of a negative test result before travelling and to present the certificate to the transport service provider before entering the means of transport.
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) would decide, based on a proposal by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), to which regions where the transport services depart from or transit through the obligation would apply.
"Preparing for a new wave"
"The Government is preparing for a new wave of the pandemic with a number of measures, and legislative changes are one of the available means. I consider the proposal to require testing in the departure country to be one of the most urgent issues. We want to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, but we also want to increase passengers' confidence in the safety of travel. We are also currently preparing other legislative amendments to increase the powers of transport authorities to ensure health security," says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.
"According to the draft proposal, the requirement to present a certificate would depend on the disease situation in each region. The needs assessment would always be carried out by the health authority based on the information available on the incidence of the disease. I hope that many comments will be received during the consultation round in order to assess the impacts," added Harakka.
Not for permanent residents
According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, this requirement would not apply to Finnish citizens, foreigners permanently resident in Finland, asylum seekers or other persons performing an essential task.
The Finnish Transport and Communications agency (Traficom) would supervise that transport companies comply with the decision and the inspection obligation. Upon arrival in the country, the Border Guard would supervise that the transport service providers comply with the provision.
The deadline for comments is on 14 September 2020. Organisations and private individuals are invited to comment the bill.
The objective is that the Act would enter into force in the course of autumn 2020. It would remain in force until 31 December 2021.