Estonia rated 'green' on Finland's traffic light coronavirus scale ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

West Terminal 2 at West Harbour, Helsinki.
West Terminal 2 at West Harbour, Helsinki. Source: Port of Helsinki.

Estonia was rated as a safe country to travel to by Finland on Thursday when the country unveiled its new monitoring system for coronavirus.

Finnish broadcaster Yle News explained the traffic light model divides countries into three categories: those with a similar or better coronavirus situation to Finland, those that are a bit worse, and those that are significantly worse.

Countries which are ranked 'green' in the model, in addition to Finland, are Estonia, Latvia and Hungary.

In 'green' countries the risk of Covid-19 infection is not significantly greater than in Finland. The prevalence of Covid-19 is below the level set by the Finnish government of 8-10 cases per 100,000 population over the previous 14 days. If travelling to these countries, residents of Finland are advised to follow recommendations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 'amber' countries the risk of infection is greater than in Finland. Prevalence Is above the government's limit, between 10 and 25 cases per 100,000 population in the previous 14 days. Travel is not advised to these countries without good reason, and if travellers do arrive from one of these countries they are asked to isolate for two weeks.

In 'red' countries the risk of infection is significantly greater than in Finland or the risk cannot be reliably assessed. Covid-19 prevalence is high, more than 25 cases per 100,000 population, and people are asked to avoid travelling to these countries. If people arrive from a red state, they are asked to voluntarily quarantine for two weeks.

Finland's traffic light system. Source: THL

Mika Salminen of the  National Institute for Health and Welfare said the traffic light model was for guidance only, and should not be confused with government decisions about opening or closing borders. 

However, it is planned that both Finnish and Estonian foreign ministers will meet at the weekend to discuss ongoing coronavirus issues.

On Wednesday, Estonia's 14-day average infection rate was 10.3 after outbreaks in Tartu and Ida-Viru counties in recent weeks, putting the country above Finland's "green" zone. Ministers from both countries want to avoid restrictions on freedom of movement.

Finnish Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo told ERR on Wednesday that legal, economic, social and medical aspects must be taken into account when assessing the situation.

"Everyone understands the special relationship between our countries. There are a lot of people moving between Estonia and Finland, and freedom of movement is important for the everyday life of many as well as for the functioning of both societies," the minister said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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