Finland declares state of Emergency due to pandemic
The Finnish government declared a state of emergency on Monday due to rising COVID-19 infections, a step that would allow the Nordic country to shutter restaurants and to impose other measures to blunt the pandemic. The decision comes as new variants contribute to a sharp rise in infections in the country, which has already closed its borders. The state of emergency would also allow the government to further shut schools and limit movement between regions.
Finland recorded 720 new confirmed cases on Friday, a new daily record that focused attention on an uptick in cases in a country that has not been hit as hard by Covid as many other EU states. The PM told the media that, at this stage, there is no immediate need for the introduction of additional powers under the Emergency Powers Act, which allow for restrictions on the fundamental rights of citizens, but their introduction at a later date cannot be ruled out.
Immediately after declaring the state of emergency, the Government submitted to Parliament a proposal for an Act on the Temporary Amendment of the Act on Accommodation and Catering Operations under section 23 of the Constitution of Finland. The proposal would temporarily close restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses to customers for three weeks. The act would enter into force on 8 March 2021 and remain in force until 28 March 2021.
Several Finnish regions have seen a rapid rise in Covid-19 infections in the past two weeks, with outbreaks among skiers in Lapland and workers at shipping yards and construction sites.