Tuesday April 13, 2021

Stricter measures imposed, state of emergency on cards

Published : 25 Feb 2021, 12:03

Updated : 25 Feb 2021, 22:44

  DF Report

Prime Minister Sanna Marin along with the leaders of the ruling parties spoke at a press conference on Thursday on government new restrictions following coronavirus situation. Photo Finnish government by Laura Kotila.

The government on Thursday announced its decision to impose stricter restrictions and prepare for imposing a state of emergency in the wake of an increasing number of coronavirus infections in the country.

In its meeting on Wednesday, the government decided to impose more stringent measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to transition to the Tier 2 of prevention measures.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin, accompanied by leaders of the ruling parties, made the announcement from a press conference on Thursday about the new and stricter restrictions imposed by the government on restaurants, bars, and other food and beverage service businesses.

The restrictions include closure of restaurants and bars for three weeks from 8 to 28 March and expanding remote learning to students of class seven and above.

The proposed closure of restaurant and bar will not apply to areas where the epidemic is at a stable level. However, meals may be sold to customers for takeaway.

The PM said the coronavirus situation in different areas of the country is now at the spreading stage, triggering implementation of the second tier of the government’s three-tier coronavirus prevention plan.

Marin, however, said daycares and early age education centres, and schools up to grade six would remain open.

Students of class seven to nine, of upper secondary schools, and students of vocational education aged more than 16 will have to switch to remote learning.

Indoor sports will be suspended for adults and only children bellow 12 years will be allowed to exercise indoor sports and hobbies.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommended that the stricter measures should be imposed immediately in Helsinki and Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Vaasa, Åland, and Lapland.

Beside them, some additional measures are also recommended for the nine areas currently in the acceleration phase. The areas are East Savo, South Karelia, Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Päijät-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, North Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia, and Kymenlaakso.

The government is prepared to declare a state of emergency throughout the country.

The prime minister has discussed this issue with the president.

Parliamentary groups were scheduled to convene later on Thursday to discuss the situation. The government is prepared to decide on the transition to emergency conditions next week.

The coronavirus situation in the country was getting worse and worse since Christmas, following the spread of the UK variant of the virus.