Government discusses COVID-19 situation and decides on measures needed to address it
In its informal meeting on Wednesday 10 November, the Government discussed the COVID-19 situation and the measures needed to address it. The Government decided to adopt in full the action plan implementing the revised hybrid strategy to manage the pandemic. Restaurant restrictions will continue, as will the preparations for expanding the use of the COVID-19 passport. The Government also proposed that the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act be extended until the end of June 2022.
At the meeting, the Government received an update on the current epidemiological situation and the progress of vaccinations. The epidemiological situation has deteriorated in many regions, which means that further measures are needed to reduce the number of infections. The national target of 80 per cent vaccination coverage was reached today, but that alone is not enough to set the development of the epidemic on a downward course.
In line with the Government’s decision, the action plan for the revised hybrid strategy will be taken into full use starting on Monday 15 November. The guiding principle for the new strategy is that the various functions of society should remain open. The strategy emphasises the importance of local and targeted measures in combating the epidemic. It will guide the regions in monitoring the development of the epidemic and in deciding on the recommendations and restrictions needed to curb it.
Instead of the earlier phase-based criteria, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is drawing up epidemiological characteristics for areas in the community transmission phase that are better suited to the current epidemiological situation and that can be used by the regions as an indicative tool when assessing the need for measures.
As part of the implementation of the hybrid strategy, the Government adopted principles for introducing a new emergency brake mechanism. The emergency brake mechanism would be introduced if the development of the epidemic were to deteriorate unexpectedly and very seriously and could not be controlled through extensive regional measures. The threshold for activating the emergency brake mechanism would be high.
Restaurant restrictions will continue and the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act will remain in force
In view of the current epidemiological situation, the Government considers it necessary to continue the restrictions on the activities of restaurants.
The need for restaurant restrictions in different regions will be assessed based on the new epidemiological characteristics. The Government will decide on restaurant restrictions in its extraordinary plenary session on Monday 15 November. Under section 58a of the Communicable Diseases Act, decisions on restrictions on food and beverage service businesses are made by government decree.
The Government proposes that the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act be extended until the end of June 2022.
The temporary provisions concerning sections 16, 43, 58 and 59 of the Communicable Diseases Act are due to expire at the turn of the year. These have to do with health-secure entry into the country, the Koronavilkku mobile application, restrictions on premises and activities to prevent the spread of infections, and COVID-19 passports, among other matters.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will also examine the possibility of preparing a temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act concerning the vaccination protection of healthcare and social welfare employees and students in on-the-job training in order to protect patients and clients.
The Government wants to promote expanding the use of the COVID-19 passport as an independent restrictive measure. At the same time, it is exploring the possibility of using the COVID-19 passport at workplaces. The matter will be prepared without delay in cooperation between the ministries.
Pasi Pohjola, Director of Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]
Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]
Satu Koskela, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, fir[email protected]