Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) pleaded with the public and authorities to help to manage the coronavirus epidemic in a press conference in Helsinki on Thursday, 26 November. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) on Thursday pleaded with the public and authorities to assist in the effort to manage the coronavirus epidemic and reduce the number of new infections in Finland.

“Now is the time to pull up your socks,” she declared in a press conference according to YLE.

Marin pointed out that a growing number of regions and hospital districts are edging closer to the worst, spreading stage of the epidemic. People should consequently forgo all non-essential social contacts.

“My message is don’t make trips, don’t travel overseas [and] avoid all sorts of activity that isn’t necessary – be it free-time activity, parties, hobbies or anything like that. Giving up on these is a reasonable ask in a situation as serious as this,” she underlined.

The prime minister reiterated the conclusion drawn by the government on Wednesday: Finland is not yet in a state of emergency.

“We aren’t in a state of emergency at the moment, we’re not about to start utilising the powers in the emergency powers act. If the situation worsened quickly, this could be something we’d consider, and it’s possible that it becomes the government’s duty to start utilising these powers,” estimated Marin.

Mika Salminen, the director of health security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), on Thursday confirmed that the epidemiological situation has deteriorated rapidly over the past week, with the number of new cases growing by roughly 30 per cent.

The situation is beginning to place a significant burden also on the health care system, added Markku Mäkijärvi, the chief medical officer at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). HUS alone, he highlighted, has 83 people in hospital care with symptoms caused by the new coronavirus, the youngest of whom is only 27 years old.

THL on Thursday reported that the number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections rose by 535 on Tuesday and 363 on Wednesday.

Over 10 per cent, or 2,541, of the 22,652 infections detected in the country to date were reported between 16 and 22 November, signalling an increase of 906 from the period between 9 and 15 November. The two-week total, in turn, stood at 4,176 between 9 and 22 November, signalling an increase of 1,315 from the period between 26 October and 8 November.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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