The Finnish government together with the president has decided to enact the Emergency Powers Act to limit the spreading of the coronavirus (272 confirmed coronavirus infections on Monday). The following policies will be in effect until April 13, 2020.

Schools will be shut down beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Of a long list of measures, we publish the most notable changes to the current situation. (The full list can be found here.)

Beginning on Wednesday, March 18:

Schools across the country will be closed. According to the government, the idea is to give the parents and pupils a day to prepare for the shutdown.

The daycare centers will remain open.

All public museums (most museums to close on Tuesday), theaters, the National Opera, culture houses, libraries and mobile libraries, swim halls,  sports halls, and other venues for recreational activities will be closed. Similar services offered by the private sector are expected to close as well. Religious groups are expected to follow the same expectations.

Additional measures:

Public gatherings of over 10 people are banned. Unnecessary “hanging around” in public places should be avoided.

People over 70 are obligated to stay away from contact with other people, when possible. This obligation doesn’t concern the state leadership, MPs and other elected officials.

The capacity for coronavirus testing is increased.

The press conference

At the press conference, which was delayed for hours late on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) reminded the listeners at a safe distance that “we are living during exceptional times.”

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (the SDP) talked about the high mortality rate of the 70-80-year-olds who have caught the coronavirus, “who should be protected.”

“The younger group should confront the virus. We should keep the elderly safe,” Kiuru said.

In the end, Prime Minister Marin reminded the listeners that “we will survive this together.”

The purpose of this Emergency Powers Act is to secure the livelihood of the population and the national economy, to maintain legal order and constitutional and human rights, and to safeguard the territorial integrity and independence of Finland in emergency conditions. (198/2000) Source: Finlex