“It’s up to everyone of us what the summer will be like,” said Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP). (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Friday released its preliminary strategy for removing the restrictions necessitated by the coronavirus epidemic in a gradual and controlled fashion.

“The goal is to provide a vision for the coming months for citizens, businesses and other members of society,” Marin summarised at the Government Palace in Helsinki.

“Although we’re already planning to open society, the situation at this very moment is still serious. The restrictions cannot be lifted carelessly or prematurely. It’s up to everyone of us what the summer will be like.”

She underscored that restrictions will be torn down during the course of this spring and summer only if the epidemiological situation can be kept under control. The effort to manage the epidemic, along with the effects of vaccinations and possible seasonal variation in the epidemic, may enable the public to enjoy a summer in circumstances that are “much more normal”.

“Our aim is that once school has ended for the summer, children can participate in summer camps and you can start planning their cottage Midsummer. That you can go to a restaurant and attend public events without compromising health safety, sit on a terrace, take part in outdoor activities and meet friends care-freely,” she said.

“If the situation improves faster, we can lift the restrictions earlier. If it takes a turn for the worse, the restrictions will be lifted at a slower rate or can be reinstated.”

The objective of the so-called exit strategy is to provide the central administration, authorities and regional decision-makers with a tool for doing away with the restrictions in a gradual and controlled manner.

Henrik Haapajärvi, state secretary to Prime Minister Marin, reminded that the coronavirus pandemic will by no means disappear in the near future, not least because the majority of vaccines are presently distributed to western countries.

“That’s why we’ll have to prepare a bit for the possibility that the disease starts to spread again. The virus mutations may be treacherous in this sense, as we know. And in the autumn of 2021 and winter of 2022, we’ll probably need to continue protecting the risk groups. We’ll need more information on how well the vaccines prevent people from transmitting the virus and how long the immunity lasts.”

“It’s also likely that the disease may spread among the younger age groups who don’t yet have a tested vaccine in the winter of 2021–2022.”

The government published the preliminary strategy today to offer everyone an opportunity to comment on it through the otakantaa.fi platform. The government will additionally sit down with both labour market organisations and municipal authorities next week to discuss the strategy.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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