The Finnish parliament approved on Friday several temporary amendments to the Law on Communicable Diseases, allowing mandatory health checks, including a COVID-19 test for people arriving in the country, informs the DPA agency.
“We have more tools to fight the disease,” said Krista Kiuru, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services.
For example, a health check might be ordered for travelers arriving from a particular country or for employees at a particular job, she said. Failure to do so could result in a fine or even three months in prison.
So far, sanitary checks and tests for COVID-19 have been voluntary. Many people refused to be tested.
A person who has fallen ill or is suspected of having been exposed to a communicable disease will also be required to provide information to health authorities trying to identify the source of the infection. This was previously voluntary.
Other measures would allow local or regional authorities to limit the number of customers in shops, order the temporary closure of gyms and spas or reduce the number of passengers on public transport.
The amendments would enter into force on Monday and take effect by the end of June.
Meanwhile, the Southern Regional State Administrative Agency has announced that public gatherings in the Uusimaa region of the Finnish capital Helsinki will be limited to a maximum of six people from Monday to March 14, citing the deteriorating epidemic situation.
The government has recently extended stricter restrictions on entry into the country amid fears of new coronavirus mutations.
Finland has recorded approximately 52,600 cases of coronavirus and 726 deaths related to COVID-19.