Compared to other European Union (EU) countries, Finland hasn’t been impacted as hard in terms of Covid cases, but with an uptick in case numbers in recent weeks, including a daily record of 720 newly confirmed cases on 1 March, Prime Minister Sanna Marin has announced a state of emergency. The declaration was made in collaboration with President Sauli Niinistö and will allow the government greater flexibility in terms of bringing in restrictions to combat the virus.
Such restrictions look set to include social distancing measures, with a proposal submitted to Parliament immediately following the declaration that proposes the closing of food and beverage establishments in the country for three weeks from 8 March. This would be enacted in areas where virus transmission is accelerating, as opposed to being a country-wide order, for now.
Marin has also urged citizens to avoid visiting indoor leisure facilities over the coming weeks, in an effort to minimise all social contact. With new daily case numbers still creeping up over the last few days, the prime minister is doing all she can to encourage people to stay distanced before any new laws are agreed that would force such measures.
Hope for a better summer
"Let’s protect our own, our loved ones' and fellow citizens’ health.,” said Marin. “Avoid places and situations where contacts may occur. Keep a safe distance, take care of hygiene and wear masks. Everyone can influence what spring and summer looks like.”
Although Finland has begun its Covid vaccinate rollout, it will take time to have an impact on case numbers. In the meantime, Finland joins many other countries in adjusting its lockdown policies in line with fluctuating case numbers.