EU health ministers start regular video meetings to intensify information exchange on coronavirus situation
The EU health ministers held an extraordinary video meeting on 12 March to obtain an update on the rapidly changing coronavirus situation and the measures taken by the countries to prevent the spread of the disease. Finland was represented by Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru.
The Member States agreed to further enhance the information exchange at regular video meetings, for example. The Member States also demonstrated solidarity with Italy because of the difficult situation in the country.
Most effective measures into use in each Member State, depending on the disease situation
“Finland supports the recommendations of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the fight against the disease. However, it is important that each Member State can tailor the most effective measures to combat the epidemic in the light of the country’s disease situation and their own national structures and circumstances,” Minister Kiuru said.
Minister Kiuru told about Finland's efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. So far, Finland has managed to restrict the spread of the coronavirus and it has been possible to identify the infection chains. Finland is prepared for a rapid change in the situation. Instead of restricting the disease, Finland will then focus on treating those who are ill.
“Our health system is prepared and ready to receive an increasing number of patients with coronavirus, including patients with severe symptoms of this disease and requiring intensive care,” Kiuru said.
According to Minister Kiuru, special care will be taken in Finland to protect professionals involved in the treatment of patients with coronavirus. At the same time, patient safety will be ensured.
“On 12 March, the Finnish Government recommended that all public events involving more than 500 people be cancelled until the end of May,” Kiuru said.
"I would like to emphasise that the coronavirus must be combated in society by means of a comprehensive approach and intersectoral measures, and in all administrative branches. The global spillover effects of this epidemic on the economy and societies are serious. In order to minimise the impact, the whole Finnish Government will focus on the prevention work,” Kiuru stressed.
“Sharing timely and reliable information and responding to people's need for information is very important. It helps people to avoid unnecessary exposure to the disease through their own actions. This is also necessary for protecting other people, especially older people and other persons at risk. At the same time, we will strengthen the resilience of society. People's concerns must be met, but there should be no room for panic,” Kiuru emphasised.
The Finnish Government will finance the development of a coronavirus vaccine by EUR 5 million.
The EU health ministers have previously held one video meeting and two extraordinary meetings due to the coronavirus situation. In their meeting on 13 February, the Member States adopted Council conclusions on EU response and coordination due to the threat caused by the novel coronavirus disease.
In addition to representatives of the European Commission, representatives of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and of several Directorates-General of the European Commission participated in the meeting.
Ylijohtaja Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director-General, tel. +358 295 163 425, 046 921 0285