Government to update COVID-19 strategy – restrictions to be lifted gradually taking into account epidemiological situation
In its meeting on Wednesday 2 February, the Government was briefed on the current epidemiological situation, discussed updates to its COVID-19 strategy and assessed the lifting of restrictions. The Government also decided on preparations for updating the COVID-19 passport.
The number of COVID-19 infections nationwide remains high, but the number of cases requiring intensive care has decreased considerably. Some regions have already reached the peak of this wave of the epidemic, and the burden on the healthcare system has evened out or begun to ease. That said, the epidemiological situation continues to vary from region to region, and in some regions the situation may still become more difficult.
There are still many unvaccinated people who are susceptible to infection. Achieving the best possible vaccination coverage is our best tool in the fight against the epidemic, both now and in the future.
Restrictions to be lifted gradually
The Government discussed lifting the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. In lifting the restrictions, it is wise to proceed gradually.
The Government decided to ease the restrictions on restaurants so that as of 14 February, restaurants can serve alcoholic beverages until 23.00 and remain open until midnight. This applies to both restaurants and businesses that primarily serve alcoholic beverages. If the situation continues to develop favourably and we are not at risk of exceeding the capacity of the healthcare system, the restrictions on restaurant operations could be lifted completely as of 1 March for all food and beverage service businesses.
The Government recommends that all restrictions on the number of participants and the amount of customer seating at public events and in leisure activities in the cultural, sports and event sectors be lifted as of 14 February.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is drawing up a circular on these recommendations for the competent regional authorities.
Preparation of COVID-19 passport to continue, ministerial working group to finalise hybrid strategy
The Government received an update on the preparations for changes to the COVID-19 passport The Government decided to continue drafting legislation on the expansion and independent use of the COVID-19 passport so that the passport could be quickly reintroduced if the epidemiological situation deteriorates due to a new virus variant, for example.
Use of the COVID-19 passport in its current form will continue to be suspended until 15 February. The Ministerial Working Group on COVID-19 will continue its discussion on resuming the use of the COVID-19 passport in its current form. The EU COVID-19 vaccination passport continues to be in use for travel as usual.
The Government also held a general discussion on the hybrid strategy for managing COVID-19 and on its testing and tracing strategy. The Ministerial Working Group will continue to finalise these strategies.
Henrik Haapajärvi, State Secretary, Prime Minister's Office, tel. +358 9 1602 2006, [email protected]
Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (COVID-19 passport)
Pasi Pohjola, Director of Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (COVID-19 strategies)
Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (epidemiological situation and COVID-19 strategies)