The Finnish government on Wednesday announced that it was ending the isolation of the Uusimaa region, which includes the capital Helsinki. The physical blockade will be lifted on Wednesday afternoon.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told a news conference that the legal requirement of “being absolutely necessary” for the isolation no longer existed.
Marin said Finland has not yet reached “the peak” of the COVID-19 epidemic and people should still avoid unnecessary travel.
The Finnish government did not announce any plans to change other restrictions, such as keeping most schools and restaurants closed and keeping the borders restricted against entry of foreigners. These measures are to continue until mid-May and partially until the end of May.
Marin said the government decision was unanimous. Local media noted that representatives of major political party, the Center Party, had been critical in their public statements. The party has much of its backing outside Uusimaa.
Representatives of the health districts adjoining Uusimaa on Wednesday commented that the end of the blockade is likely to result in an increase in COVID-19 cases in their regions, in two to three weeks. But a survey carried by news agency USU found that the increase is not likely to exceed their hospital resource levels.
The isolation started from the morning of March 28, when the rate of COVID-19 infections in the Uusimaa region was four times higher than those in the rest of Finland.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Finland had confirmed 3,237 coronavirus infections with 64 deaths and 75 cases being in intensive care, according to the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare. Enditem