Finland declares a state of emergency that has not been done since World War II. This was a heavy decision, but the president and the government had made it in order to protect its residents and people.
The goal is to protect the ones that are vulnerable in contracting severe Covid-19 and to decrease the burden of the healthcare system and its professionals. Also to protect the other critical workers that are needed to sustain the delivery and management for a functioning society.
We are publishing the release made by the government on Tuesday 16.3.2020 word by word.
Measures decided by the Government word by word
Early childhood education and care units and the pre-primary education organized in connection with them will be kept in operation. This will ensure access to early childhood education and care for the children of employees in sectors critical to the functioning of society and enable parents to work. The Government advises parents and guardians who are able to arrange childcare at home to do so.
Schools and Educational Institutions
All national and municipal museums, theatres, the National Opera, cultural venues, libraries, mobile libraries, services for customers and researchers at the National Archives, hobby and leisure centres, swimming pools and other sports facilities, youth centers, clubs, organisations’ meeting rooms, day care services for the elderly, rehabilitative work facilities and workshops will be closed. Private and third-sector operators and religious communities are advised to do the same.continue to be arranged for pupils who require it according to a decision on special-needs support; however, parents and guardians who are able to arrange childcare at home are still requested to do so. The above-mentioned arrangements will enter into force on Wednesday 18 March 2020.
Instead of contact teaching, the teaching and guidance provided by all universities, universities of applied sciences and vocational education institutes, general upper secondary education and basic education providers will be organized to the widest extent possible in alternative ways, including distance learning, various digital learning environments and solutions and, where necessary, self-learning.
The matriculation examinations will be carried out by 23 March 2020 according to the condensed schedule published on 13 March 2020, taking into account the instructions issued by the health authorities.
Public gatherings are limited to no more than ten persons, and it is recommended to avoid spending unnecessary time in public places.
Culture Activities and Premises
All national and municipal museums, theatres, the National Opera, cultural venues, libraries, mobile libraries, services for customers and researchers at the National Archives, hobby and leisure centers, swimming pools and other sports facilities, youth centers, clubs, organizations’ meeting rooms, daycare services for the elderly, rehabilitative work facilities and workshops will be closed. Private and third-sector operators and religious communities are advised to do the same.
Protection of the Elderly
Visits to housing services for the elderly and other at-risk groups will be prohibited.
Visitors will be banned from care institutions, health care units, and hospitals, with the exception of asymptomatic family members of children and critically ill individuals, family members of those in hospice care and spouses or support persons in the maternity ward, who will be permitted to visit on a case-by-case basis.
Public-sector employers will instruct public-sector employees to work from home if their duties make it possible to do so.
As a general guideline, persons over 70 years of age must refrain from contact with other persons to the extent possible (quarantine-like conditions), with the exception of members of parliament, the state leadership, and elected officials in local Government.
Healthcare and Social Welfare
The capacity of healthcare and social welfare services will be increased in the public and private sectors. At the same time, non-urgent activities will be reduced. The capacity of the private sector will be mobilized for public use as necessary. At the same time, statutory deadlines and obligations will be eased.
The capacity for coronavirus testing will be increased. The National Institute for Health and Welfare will provide support in this respect.
In the case of critical personnel, exceptions will be made to the provisions of the Working Hours Act and the Annual Holidays Act in both the private and public sector.
Arrangements will be made to oblige trained professionals in healthcare and social welfare and internal security, in particular, to perform work as necessary.
Movement of People
The movement of people may be restricted in order to prevent a serious danger to life and health.
Closure of Finland´s borders
For the sake of public health and health security, preparations will be launched for the closure of Finland’s borders without delay in accordance with international obligations. Passenger transport to Finland will be suspended as soon as possible, with the exception of the return of Finnish citizens and persons residing in Finland. Finnish citizens and persons residing in Finland must not travel abroad. Finnish tourists abroad are advised to return to Finland immediately. Necessary travel for work and to access other necessary services will be permitted across the northern and western borders. Freight and goods traffic will continue as usual.
Finns and permanent residents in Finland returning from abroad will be placed in quarantine-like conditions for two weeks.
Persons returning from abroad must agree on the date of their return to work after a two-week period of absence together with their employer.
The Defence Forces will ensure the continuity of their operations and their preparedness in all circumstances. The other authorities will be prepared to provide support as necessary.
Inquiries: Päivi Anttikoski, Director of Government Communications, tel. +358 295 160 204 Prime Minister’s Office