Emergency brake to be introduced to tackle COVID-19 – aiming to slow down the spread of the epidemic
The Government has issued a resolution on the adoption of the national emergency brake mechanism. In managing the COVID-19 epidemic, Finland has returned to extensive restrictions and recommendations which are guided by national legislation.
The aim is to reduce, in particular, contacts between adults in the worst affected areas of the epidemic and thus slow down the spread of the epidemic. Seventeen areas in Finland are currently classified as community transmission areas, so the recommended measures apply to almost the whole country.
In late autumn 2021, the development of the epidemic has rapidly deteriorated. The need for hospital care and the burden on the healthcare system have increased significantly, which also puts the treatment of other diseases at risk. Earlier measures have been insufficient to prevent the epidemic from taking a turn for the worse.
The emergency brake system will introduce measures that are in line with current legislation but also measures that require legislative amendments.
Several new measures to restrict close contacts in the worst affected areas of the epidemic
The ministries guide the authorities to introduce extensive and full measures to tackle the pandemic in the community transmission areas.
These include measures with which to extend the restrictions on public events, prohibit high and moderate risk events, suspend high-risk group hobbies for adults, switch to distance learning in higher education institutions, close high and moderate risk premises open to customers and participants, and restrict the number of passengers in public transport. It is also recommended that people take a home test before attending events and activities or using public premises.
In addition, a decree will lay down provisions on a period of three weeks during which it will not be possible to deviate from the restrictions by using the COVID-19 passport in high and moderate risk premises and events in the community transmission areas.
Restrictions will also be imposed on opening hours and the serving of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses, and the use of the COVID-19 passport will be restricted for a fixed period of three weeks. The amendments are laid down by decree.
The Government decided to reintroduce internal border control at Finland’s borders.
Impact to be monitored regularly
The emergency brake mechanism will be applied nationally and for as short a period as possible. It will be lifted as soon as it cannot be justified to be proportionate and necessary.
The emergency brake measures and their impact on health, wellbeing, the economy and fundamental rights have been assessed in advance in cooperation between different ministries.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will issue instructions on the introduction of the emergency brake mechanism in the regions.
Taneli Puumalainen, Director General
Satu Koskela, Director General