null Legislative proposal to require testing in the departure country if the infectious disease situation so requires

Legislative proposal to require testing in the departure country if the infectious disease situation so requires

Tiedote 07.09.2020 20.05 fi sv en

Helsinki Airport (Photo: FotoHelin/Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has sent out for comments a proposal for amendments to the Act on Transport Services.

It is proposed that new provisions be added to the Act on the inspection of a negative infectious disease test result and the presentation of a certificate, if the infectious disease situation so requires.

The obligation would apply to a situation where the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has proposed that measures are needed to limit the spread of a generally hazardous communicable disease in Finland.

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) would decide, based on a proposal by the THL, to which regions where the transport services depart from or transit through the obligation would apply. 

According to the proposal, the transport service provider would be required to check that a passenger in cross-border traffic can present a negative coronavirus test result.

The passenger would be required to obtain a certificate of a negative test result for an infectious disease before travelling and to present the certificate to the transport service provider before entering the means of transport.

Minister Harakka: Safety of travel must be ensured

“The Government is preparing for a new wave of the pandemic with a number of measures, and legislative changes are one of the available means. I consider the proposal to require testing in the departure country to be one of the most urgent issues. We want to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, but we also want to increase passengers’ confidence in the safety of travel. We are also currently preparing other legislative amendments to increase the powers of transport authorities to ensure health security,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

“According to the draft proposal, the requirement to present a certificate would depend on the disease situation in each region. The needs assessment would always be carried out by the health authority based on the information available on the incidence of the disease. I hope that many comments will be received during the consultation round in order to assess the impacts,” says Minister Harakka.

Obligation would not apply to Finnish people

A negative test result certificate would not be required from Finnish citizens, foreigners permanently resident in Finland, asylum seekers or other persons performing an essential task.

Traficom would supervise that transport companies comply with the decision and the inspection obligation.

Upon arrival in the country, the Border Guard would supervise that the transport service providers comply with the provision.

What are the next steps?

The deadline for comments is on 14 September 2020. Organisations and private individuals are invited to comment the bill online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi or by email at kirjaamo@lvm.fi. Following the consultation round, Ministry officials will continue the preparations for the Act.

The objective is that the Act would enter into force in the course of autumn 2020. The Act would remain in force until 31 December 2021.

Further provisions on the form, language, content and presentation of the certificate would be laid down in a Government decree.

Inquiries:

Juhapekka Ristola, Director-General, tel. +358 40 078 8530, Twitter @JpRistola

Silja Ruokola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 580 0894, Twitter @SRuokola