Residents in Finland will be able to cross the Norwegian border and visit the country for sightseeing starting next Monday 15 June.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, confirmed on Friday that her country would accept the visit of Finnish tourists, following the decision announced on Thursday by the Helsinki Government to allow entry for non-essential travel by people from Norway, Iceland, Denmark and the three Baltic republics.
The Finnish Government confirmed this decision during its plenary session on Friday.
Norway will also allow tourists from Iceland and from the island province of Gotland, in Sweden, to enter its borders. But tourists from the rest of Sweden - the Nordic nation hardest hit by the coronavirus with more than 4,800 deaths - will have to wait before being able to travel to neighboring countries. This decision has upset the Stockholm authorities.
Review in two weeks
On Friday, the Finnish Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo, chaired a video conference of the Nordic Ministers of the Interior to discuss the current impact of the coronavirus outbreak on border traffic and how the restrictions can be gradually dismantled.
According to Ohisalo, the Finnish government will review within two weeks its decision to maintain border controls with Sweden. According to her, Finland wants to normalize the situation with Sweden as soon as possible, so that the borders become mere "lines on the map".
With this partial reopening, the Nordic countries (except Sweden) take a decisive step towards creating their own 'travel bubble'. However, governments emphasize that restrictions can be reinstated anytime if the epidemic situation changes, for example if the number of infections rebounds.