Prime Minister Sanna Marin (right) and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen stepped before the media to give an update on the coronavirus epidemic in Finland in Helsinki on Thursday, 19 March 2020. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) has issued clear instructions to families with children about play dates, yard games and visits amid the coronavirus epidemic.

“You could say categorically that social contacts have to be reduced. Children and young people shouldn’t get together in groups, shouldn’t go outside to play ball or spend time anywhere else,” she stated in a press conference on Thursday.

“Social contact really has to be avoided, and meetings of over 10 people really are forbidden in public places. This applies to daily life in general, and meetings of fewer than 10 people should also be avoided.”

The Finnish government was yesterday also asked to comment on reports that people are considering travelling to a cabin to isolate themselves from the rest of the population. Norway, for instance, has asked people to return from cabins to ensure the health care systems of small localities with large clusters of holiday homes are not overburdened.

Marin said the government has yet to implement any strict restrictions on domestic travel under the emergency powers act, but it has recommended that also domestic travel be avoided – for the same reason as Norway.

“The health care capacity isn’t the same in small localities as it is in larger cities,” she remarked.

Kirsi Varhila, permanent secretary at the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, acknowledged that cabins provide a good environment for avoiding social contact but reminded that people should assess their health status before isolating themselves in a cabin.

Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left Alliance), in turn, reminded that domestic travel is also not without its risks.

“Whenever you’re on the move, it raises the risk of the disease spreading,” she highlighted.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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