Finland prepares to close its borders, schools

Estonia’s northern neighbour, Finland, is preparing to close its borders and schools and limiting public gathering of more than 10 people to contain the spread of the covid-19 coronavirus.

The Finnish prime minister, Sanna Marin, said in a press briefing on 16 March that the country had started preparing for closing its borders. The Finnish people who are currently abroad should return home, and people at home shouldn’t travel abroad, Marin added.

Finland is also going to close its schools and ban public gatherings of more than 10 people, the prime minister announced. The schools will still be open on 17 March.

Museums, theatres, the National Opera, libraries, gyms, pools and clubs will be closed, too.

“The restrictions are useless if, for example, youths gather voluntarily to spend time in groups,” Marin said, adding that because of this, the country is limiting unnecessary “hanging out” in public places.

Sanna Marin. Photo by Jari Niemelä.

The limitations will not apply to the necessary functioning of the society – people can still go to the grocery store and the pharmacy, walk their dogs, sit on a bench and wait for the bus, the prime minister noted.

Finland is imposing all restrictions until at least 13 April.

Marin also said that the day could come when Finland may have to limit internal movements.

As of 16 March, Finland has 277 confirmed coronavirus cases.

For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

Cover: An aerial view of the Port of Helsinki, the main gateway for Estonians visiting Finland. Photo by Henri Bergius, shared under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licence.

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