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Finnish govt decrees use of ‘Covid-19 Passport’

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers are now required to undergo two Covid-19 tests: one before entering the country and the other upon arrival in Finland.

IANS | Helsinki |

As of Saturday, the European Union’s (EU) Digital Covid Certificate, also known as the ‘Covid-19 Passport’, will be used nationwide in Finland.

“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,” Xinhua news agency quoted the government as saying.

However, “the Covid-19 passport will not 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 statement added.

For example, restaurants can avoid restrictions if they require their customers to present a Covid-19 Passport. Thus, they would not have to comply with the restrictions on opening times or customer numbers.

“People aged 16 and over can be required to present a Covid-19 Passport,” according to the release.

In general, the passport can be required at restaurants, nightclubs and public events.

According to public health officials, the mandatory use of the Covid-19 Passport could motivate people to take the vaccine, especially if an eventual increase in the number of new infections forces the introduction of new restrictions.

Over the past two weeks, Finland registered a 30 per cent increase in the number of new infections.

The incidence rate currently stands at 140 cases per 100,000 residents.

On Friday alone, 723 new cases were reported by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Around 85 per cent of the country’s population aged 12 and over have already received one vaccine dose, and 74 per cent two doses.

Also on Friday, Finland updated its restrictions on entry into the country.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers are now required to undergo two Covid-19 tests: one before entering the country and the other upon arrival in Finland.

People arriving in Finland are now required to present proof of either full vaccination, recovery from Covid-19 within the past six months, or a negative test result.