Friday February 26, 2021

Govt takes 3-tier strategy to curb coronavirus

Published : 26 Jan 2021, 03:19

Updated : 26 Jan 2021, 10:33

  DF Report

Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru spoke at a press conference on government´s 3-tier strategy to curb coronavirus spread on Monday. Photo: Finnish government by Lauri Heikkinen.

The government on Monday announced a three-tier action plan to curb any possible spread of coronavirus in the country.

In line with the decision, the action plan will be supplemented with three new sets of measures aimed at combating the acceleration of the COVID-19 epidemic and, in particular, at curbing the spread of the more infectious virus variant in Finland, said an official press release.

The government will adopt a resolution on the matter on Tuesday.

In the first tier, all measures for the community transmission phase must be implemented in full in areas where the epidemic is in the community transmission phase.

The restrictive measures in force must remain at least at their current level until an assessment can be carried out concerning the spread of the new virus variant and the effectiveness of the measures taken to prevent it.

In the second tier, the recommendations and guidelines for the community transmission phase will be introduced based on the threat of the rapid acceleration of the epidemic or the spread of the new virus variant.

In this tier, additional measures may also be introduced at the national or regional level, such as lowering the maximum number of persons permitted at gatherings. The most extensive remote work recommendation and a mask recommendation may also be introduced throughout the country.

Other measures under the communicable diseases legislation should be decided on before placing restrictions on children and young people (e.g. suspending group hobbies).

The upper grades of comprehensive schools may switch to distance learning. However, this should be a last-resort measure.

The Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare will specify the criteria for group hobbies that must be suspended in tier 2. At the same time, proactive measures must be taken to support children and young people in order to minimise the harmful effects of the restrictions on their functional capacity and wellbeing.

In the third tier, a state of emergency will be declared and restrictions on movement will be introduced, in addition to the above-mentioned measures.

This is an extreme measure that can be justified only if all of the previous measures have proven insufficient and it can be demonstrated that the epidemic situation poses an immediate threat to the carrying capacity of the healthcare system, or if it is absolutely necessary in order to safeguard the lives or health of the population.