Tallink CEO: Finnish government travel bar decision 'incomprehensible' ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

CEO of shipping line Tallink says that proposals to amend travel restrictions imposed by the Finnish government will include the requirement of providing proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result.

 The Finnish government made a return to similar restrictions set up during the spring coronavirus wave in limiting entry to key workers, along with a few other exemptions including family and compassionate reasons. Fears of newer, more potent strains of the virus, usually referred to as British or South African variations, prompted the country's decision; over 80 such cases have been found in Finland so far, it is reported.

 Nõgene called the restrictions incomprehensible and grotesque.

He told ERR Saturday that: "An incomprehensible choice of positions has been made, regarding who can enter Finland and who cannot. For us, this raises the question of why things have been done in this way."

Outgoing prime minister Jüri Ratas (Center) had discussed the possibility of better on-ship coroanvirus testing with his Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, Thursday evening. 

Paavo Nõgene says the Finnish government must be persuaded that the principle of free movement in the EU and the Schengen Area, which both Estonia and Finland are members of, remains a given. 

He added: "Of course, the decision is grotesque," noting that exemptions include key care-givers, a source of employment in Finland for many Estonians. 

Nõgene said a proposal would include requiring proof of a negative coronavirus test result for arrivals in Finland from Estonia, which could be taken anything from 48 to 72 hours in advance. 

This would, he said, get round the situation from Wednesday where an arrival from Finland will be at the whim of border guard personnel and would have to be able to convince him or her that they were traveling to Finland for an unavoidable reason.

An estimated 30,000 people make the trip every week by ferry from Tallinn, across the Gulf of Finland, ERR reports.

Outgoing foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) also criticized the Finnish government's move, which some critics speculate may be linked to local elections to be held there in April. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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