Thursday, May 26, 2022

Finland plans to ease COVID restrictions

A person receives a booster dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at the Vaccine Center in Espoo, Finland on January 4, 2022. Via Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/REUTERS

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HELSINKI, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Finland has started easing COVID-19 restrictions gradually from February 1 instead of mid-February as initially planned as the burden on its hospitals was eased , the government said late on Thursday.

On 18 January, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Finland would begin to roll back restrictions from mid-February, but signs of stabilization in infection rates due to the Omicron version of the virus prompted the government to change its plan.

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“The burden on intensive care units has taken a turn in a better direction,” Finland’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs Hannah Sarkinen told reporters.

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Sarkinen said the government decided to introduce cautious easing by relaxing the hours restriction, which can currently remain open until 9 pm, from the mandatory 6 pm closure.

It also recommended allowing local authorities to reopen cultural and sporting venues such as gyms, swimming pools and theaters from early February.

Finland remains one of the least affected countries by the pandemic. The country of 5.5 million people has so far recorded 470,665 COVID-19 cases and 1,919 related deaths, according to data from the Institute of Health.

Reporting by Anne Cournan; Editing by Bill Burcrot

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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