Finland Suspends All Air Traffic from UK Due to New COVID-19 Variant

Air travel from the United Kingdom to Finland is suspended until 4 January 2021, according to an announcement published by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The decision to ban flights is geared towards all air traffic, including repatriation flights.

“Traficom decided to ban flights to prevent the spread of the new variant of coronavirus to Finland. The ban applies to all flights, including repatriation flights,” the announcement reads.

According to the announcement, there will not be repatriation flights planned this time. This is due to the Finnish government’s previous efforts to repatriate their citizens at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; since, people have been made aware of the consequences of traveling abroad. The Finnish government likely views people traveling abroad as people who are not following their recommendations.

“In the early phases of the pandemic in the spring, the Government decided to organise repatriation flights because air traffic was suddenly suspended all over the world. Now that people have been aware of the situation and the consequent travel recommendations for a long time, we are not planning repatriation flights,” the announcement reads.

Finland has banned air traffic into Finland from the UK in response to the “new variant of coronavirus,” and is an attempt to stop it from spreading to Finland.

The decision to stop all incoming air traffic from the UK to Finland was made by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom).

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, on the contrary, is recommending that travelers be allowed to return to Finland from the UK, especially when using commercial flight options.

In addition, the Institute is recommending that all travelers who have returned home to Finland since 7 December 2020 be tested for the new variant, even if they are not showing symptoms. This will also apply to people who have been tested once or twice since returning to Finland.

The idea of testing in this capacity is to ensure that the new variant of COVID-19 will not spread in Finland via asymptomatic people bringing it back from abroad.

“The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare recommends that all those who arrived in Finland from the UK on 7 December 2020 or who has arrived after that get tested even if they had no symptoms of a coronavirus infection. Testing is conducted to ensure that the new coronavirus variant will not spread in Finland through asymptomatic persons infected with coronavirus. The recommendation to get tested for coronavirus applies also to persons who have already been tested once or twice after returning to Finland from the UK,” the announcement reads.

At the time of writing this article, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, France, and the UK have reported cases of the new variant of COVID-19, which is a mutation of the original virus.

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