On Wednesday, more than 40,900 vehicles arrived at the border of the Uusimaa region, which confines about 1.7 million people to slow down the spreading of the coronavirus. The only commuters allowed to cross over are those going for work or a funeral.
March 28 saw the restrictions set by the government come into effect as the law enforcement with the aid of the defense forces built 40 checkpoints on the main roads. It was for the National Traffic Police to observe the narrow, dusty roads that branched out in all directions.
Most people have been observant of the rules, but still, for example, on Wednesday, the police denied crossing from 175 vehicles. Three fines were imposed.
Earlier in the week, the police said it will take down some of the checkpoints and will instead trust “that Finns know how to do the right thing and stay home.” To make sure, the supervision was focused in the hands of the traffic police and backed up by camera surveillance.
At this writing, the police have returned at their posts, working 14- to 16- hour shifts, to guarantee the restriction of movement for Easter.
“Long holidays are ahead, and it would be nice to spend time at the summer cottage, but we recommend to stay at home and celebrate Easter without unnecessary movement and by avoiding social contacts,” the police say in a statement.
The restrictions are still supposed to be in effect for 10 days.
Speaking on YLE’s A-studio talk show on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) said that the restrictions on movement to and from the Uusimaa region will be lifted on April 19 as initially planned.
”I believe that the lockdown will end by then. The spreading of the virus will likely be leveled so that I don’t believe that this restriction will continue,” she said. “It is a hard and heavy measure. The Emergency Powers Act requires that such measures have to be absolutely necessary.”
The other restrictions to tackle the spreading of COVID-19 will continue as planned, or they may be prolonged. The schools will remain closed at least until May 13; restaurants until May 31. (For a full list of restrictions, see here.)
“However, we live in continuous uncertainty,” Marin said, “so we have to keep evaluating if we should continue with the [other] restrictions further.”