Government decides on recommendations to curb the spread of coronavirus
In its negotiations on Thursday 12 March, the Government discussed the coronavirus outbreak and decided on recommendations and preparedness measures.
Government recommendations for public events
The Government recommends that all public events with more than 500 attendees be cancelled until the end of May. Organisers of other events are also advised to consider, based on their risk assessments, whether or not to organise similar events. All major seminars and events organised by the state will be cancelled until the end of May.
The Government is preparing for the costs of the spread of the coronavirus through a supplementary budget.
Government recommendations for workplaces and close contact
The Government recommends that employees returning from areas affected by the epidemic make arrangements for returning to work after a period of absence (two weeks) together with their employer. Employees are advised to work remotely if their tasks can be carried out from home. It is also advisable to discontinue non-essential work-related travel and to postpone holiday travel.
Arrangements must be made for children, young people and students returning from areas affected by the epidemic to return to day care centres and education institutions after a period of absence (two weeks) together with the service provider or education provider.
To reduce the spread of infection, non-essential activities, such as close contact in recreational activities and other leisure time, must also be restricted. This is particularly important for protecting those at risk. Members of the public must exercise special consideration and caution when dealing with at-risk groups. The at-risk groups include older people and people with underlying medical conditions.
Preparedness in social welfare and healthcare
High-quality and appropriate care is being ensured for those infected with coronavirus.
As concerns coronavirus tests, we will adopt a normal practice in which tests will be taken based on a physician’s assessment and consultation with a specialist in infectious diseases. This way, we can ensure that the tests are certainly available to all those who need them.
Members of the public must monitor and comply with travel instructions, and a travel notification must be made in the case of absolutely necessary travel. Measures will be taken to ensure that travel information is up-to-date and Coronavirus Info Points will be extended to Finland’s land borders.
The national advisory helpline service will be expanded to meet demand and the number of communications channels will be increased. The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) will send an information package on the coronavirus to all households in both official languages of Finland. The resources of the National Institute for Health and Welfare will be increased to ensure that expert work can be carried out and that adequate guidance and support can be offered to the public. A smartphone application providing coronavirus information to the public will also be introduced.
Finland is participating in the development of the coronavirus vaccine by supporting international non-profit organisations (CEPI, IVI) with a total of EUR 5 million.
Preparedness for possible broader restrictive measures
The Prime Minister will convene a parliamentary discussion on the measures to be taken to prepare for an epidemic.
Broader restrictive measures will require the adoption of preparedness legislation (including regional restrictive measures; closures of schools, day care centres and universities; restrictions on public sector activities; closures of large commercial centres; bans on passenger vessel travel and air travel; bans on events).
Inquiries: Henrik Haapajärvi, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 339 2604 and Päivi Anttikoski, Director of Government Communications, tel. +358 40 536 4821