Thursday 10/28/21

Sanctions for refusing to undergo a Covid-19 test come into force

As of Monday 29 March, if a person refuses to undergo a compulsory medical examination, they may be sentenced under the Penal Code for a violation of health protection to a fine or a prison sentence of up to three months.

26 March 2021, Bavaria, Munich: A woman passes past a sign with the inscription "Corona Test Center" at Munich airport. A new requirement for people arriving at German airports to have submitted to coronavirus testing has been postponed from Sunday to Tuesday. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa
A woman passes by a sign with the inscription 'Corona Test Center'. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa.

On Monday 29 March, the amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act promoted by the Government of Finland will enter into force.

These amendments empower the authorities of the Nordic country to order anyone to undergo a health examination, including a Covid-19 test, if there is suspicion that they have been exposed to a disease. They also establish the obligation to inform the authorities about one's health status.

And for those who refuse, fines and even prison sentences are established.

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, "the amendments will specify the existing right of the Regional State Administrative Agencies to order a compulsory health examination."

The health examination could include a Covid-19 test. In addition, the physician in charge of communicable diseases in the municipality or hospital district will, in future, have the right to decide that individual persons must undergo a compulsory health examination.

The decision could apply to people at airports and ports who arrive in Finland from specific countries during a specific time period, for example. It could also apply to people working in specific workplaces. 

If a person refuses to undergo a compulsory health examination, they can, under chapter 44, section 2 of the Criminal Code, be sentenced for a health protection violation to a fine or to imprisonment for at most three months.

Obligation to provide information

People who have, are exposed to or are justifiably suspected of having a generally hazardous or monitored communicable disease will be obligated to provide the healthcare professionals investigating the matter with information about themselves. Earlier the provision of information was voluntary.

Following the amendment to section 89 of the Communicable Diseases Act, the Border Guard will have the right to stop a vehicle, control traffic and process health information that is necessary for the purpose of conducting executive assistance duties.

The amendments concern section 16 (compulsory health examination), section 22 (provision of information) and section 89 (executive assistance) of the Act.