Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) spoke to reporters before a government meeting at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Wednesday, 16 December 2020. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)


THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT is presently not intent on invoking the emergency powers act, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) stated on Wednesday.

“The current situation is that we don’t have the necessary preconditions or need to use the emergency powers act,” she was quoted as saying by Helsingin Sanomat. “But as expert statements suggest, the situation can change very quickly. We’re constantly on a knife edge, so to say, with this situation.”

Marin assured that the government will be monitoring the epidemiological situation and pressure on hospital capacity closely over the winter holidays.

The government will also invite representatives of all parliamentary parties to discuss the situation on Monday, 21 December. The purpose is to prepare for the eventuality that the situation takes a turn for the worse during the parliamentary recess by ensuring the preliminary discussions have already been had.

Members of the Finnish government and the heads of ruling parliamentary groups were yesterday briefed on the spread of the new coronavirus, the communication plan for the vaccination strategy and the resilience of hospital districts in Finland.

The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) stated earlier yesterday that its administration is of the opinion that emergency powers are required to supplement health care resources in case the epidemiological situation exacerbates during the holiday period. Marin reminded before the meeting, however, that the act cannot be invoked as a precautionary measure, adding that hospital districts should resort to all measures at their disposal to secure their resources.

“Hospital districts as employers should primarily first explore other tools and ways to ensure the availability of staff also at Christmas,” she said.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Wednesday reported that the number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections has risen by 411 to 31,870. The death toll from the virus crept up by six to 472, while the number of patients in hospital care fell by 15 to 234 and that of patients in critical care by one to 34.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT