Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) reacted at a press conference in Helsinki on 17 December 2020. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


THE BRITISH VARIANT of the new coronavirus has caused additional infections in Finland, reports YLE.

The public broadcasting company reported yesterday that it has obtained information indicating that the number of new infections from the variant is not particularly high – roughly a dozen. The information, it added, has not been confirmed by officials.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Sunday stated in her monthly interview with the broadcaster that the government has already held preliminary discussions about the new variant and the measures required to stop its spread in Finland.

The restrictions currently in place have been devised based on information on the spread and transmissibility of the older variant. In-person teaching in basic education, for example, has continued on grounds that the coronavirus has not been shown to spread widely in a school environment.

As the new variant may function differently, also a re-examination of the restrictions is warranted.

“We’ll have to devise our strategy in regards to the new threat,” said Marin. “It looks like it’s transmitted more easily and evenly to different age groups than the virus we’ve gotten used to. There are indications, for example, that children and young people could get sick and spread the virus more easily.”

The government is waiting for more detailed information about the variant. “It will have an effect on how schools and daycare could become risk factors,” told Marin.

She confirmed that the government must now consider if stricter restrictions are necessary and explore the legal requirements for introducing them. Finland, she underlined, should seek to smother the disease and stop any infections at the border in order to make sure schools can be open late in the spring.

Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti on Sunday told YLE that resorting to the emergency powers act remains a possibility, albeit only after all other options have been exhausted.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT