The Finnish government tightened restrictions in March/Lehtikuva

News in brief

A new memorandum by Sitra, an independent think tank that operates under the Finnish Parliament, suggests that Swedish authorities hoped that Finland would preserve as much normalcy as possible when implementing preventive measures against the coronavirus last Spring.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, the memorandum, which was written by journalist and non-fiction writer Matti Mörttinen, states that officials from Sweden appealed to Finland, requesting that schools remain open in March.

Sources revealed that Finland’s neighbour to the West hoped that decision-makers here would consider adopting a strategy more in line with its own, which ruled out stringent safety measures in favour of granting citizens freedom to make their own choices. 

While the policies implemented by both countries shared similar features initially, Finnish politicians took the country in a drastically different direction in mid March, while Sweden continued to spurn the rigid restrictions that were implemented in the rest of Europe. 

The Swedes allegedly made contact with Finnish authorities multiple times in March, even expressing concern over the decision to impose travel restrictions in Uusimaa. The memo did not name any sources.

Sweden’s coronavirus policy has come under heavy international criticism, with the country recording one of the highest death rates in Europe. Last week, the Scandinavian nation passed a new law enabling the government to impose a lockdown.


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times