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COVID-19 passport can be introduced, provisions on entry into the country to remain in force

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Education and CultureMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
15.10.2021 17.03
Press release 306

The EU Digital COVID Certificate will be introduced nationally. In practice, this means that in Finland the COVID-19 passport can be used in situations and premises which are subject to restrictions. In addition, the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act which help prevent COVID-19 infections of foreign origin from spreading into Finland will remain in force.

On Friday 15 October 2021, the President of the Republic approved the amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act concerning the EU Digital COVID Certificate and entry into the country. The amendment will enter into force on 16 October 2021.

COVID-19 passport as an alternative to restrictions on activities

The COVID-19 passport refers to the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is available in the My Kanta Pages (a vaccination certificate, a test certificate or a certificate of recovery). If necessary, the Certificate is also available as a paper version from the healthcare service. 

As an alternative to the COVID-19 restrictions issued by the Government, the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the municipalities, operators, such as entrepreneurs, who are subject to these restrictions could require their customers to present a COVID-19 passport. 

The COVID-19 passport will serve as an alternative in situations where the event or premises in question are subject to restrictions. Such restrictions can include restrictions on opening hours or on the number of participants at events. The COVID-19 passport will not, however, serve as an alternative to restrictions in situations where the authorities have closed the premises or prohibited the public event altogether owing to the COVID-19 situation.

The COVID-19 passport can be required in the following settings: restaurants, nightclubs and public events, gyms and other indoor facilities for sports or physical activity, swimming centres and spas, dance halls, spaces used for group leisure activities, amusement and theme parks, indoor facilities for zoos, indoor playgrounds and play centres, and museums, exhibition spaces and other similar cultural venues.

People aged 16 and over can be required to present a COVID-19 passport but the testing of 16–17-year-olds for the purpose of issuing the passport should be secured in public healthcare, if the person has not received the COVID-19 vaccine doses.

In accordance with the current COVID-19 restrictions, the COVID-19 passport can currently be required by restaurants in areas which are subject to COVID-19 restrictions, i.e. the Greater Helsinki area, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia and Päijät-Häme. It is possible to introduce the COVID-19 passport more widely if restrictions need to be imposed on other areas, too.

A mobile app to scan the COVID-19 passport

Event organisers requiring customers to show a COVID-19 passport can scan the passport using the COVID certificate reader app approved by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, which is downloaded on a mobile device. It will be available free of charge from the app store. 

The COVID certificate reader will not collect or store data shown on the Certificates.

Stakeholder event on the introduction of the COVID-19 passport held on 15 October

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, together with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland and the Regional State Administrative Agencies, held a stakeholder event on the introduction of the COVID-19 passport on Friday 15 October. The event was meant for stakeholders, such as public and private operators and event organisers, i.e. for those who could require their customers to present a COVID-19 passport. 

Provisions on entry into the country to remain in force

The temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act aim to protect the health of the population by preventing COVID-19 infections of foreign origin from spreading into Finland. Similar health security measures are in place in many EU countries. 

People arriving in Finland  who were born in 2005 or earlier will still be required to have a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 within the past six months, of a completed and approved course of COVID-19 vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 test taken before arrival in Finland. Those who have a certificate of a reliable COVID-19 test taken before arrival in Finland indicating a negative result or a certificate of their first COVID-19 vaccine dose must undergo a second test within 72-120 hours of their entry into the country. Alternatively, people must undergo a COVID-19 test after arriving in Finland and a second test within 72–120 hours of their arrival. 

The obligation to show proof or be tested for COVID-19 will not apply to people who have, for the last 14 days prior to their arrival in Finland, stayed only in countries or regions where the incidence of COVID-19 or the prevalence of virus variants does not pose a particular risk of spreading the epidemic. Provisions on such countries and regions are issued by government decree.

In addition, a supplementary provision on executive assistance will be permanently added to the Communicable Diseases Act. The provision will include Customs as an executive assistance authority. This amendment will enable Customs to provide executive assistance in checking health certificates. 

Inquiries:

Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]fi (legislation on entry into the country)
Maija Neva, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (legislation on entry into the country)
Mirka-Tuulia Kuoksa, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (legislation on the COVID-19 passport)
Joni Hiitola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, [email protected] (COVID-19 passport: culture and physical activity)
Liisa Huhtala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, [email protected] (COVID-19 passport: business activities)
Mika Pihlajamäki, Information Architect, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (COVID certificate reader app)

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