In its talks yesterday, the government of the country outlined new restrictive measures due to the deteriorating coronavirus situation. At the same time, the government transferred responsibility for the strictest restrictions to regional actors, without directly specifying what actions should be taken.
The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland the banning of indoor public events in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in order to reduce contacts more widely. The group recommends that indoor public events be banned for three weeks from 28 December 2021 onwards. The coordination group of the municipalities of Uusimaa outside the Helsinki metropolitan area also decided to recommend a similar ban at its meeting.
The number of coronavirus infections continues to rise rapidly on a daily basis, and already 70 percent of the infections detected in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa have been caused by the Omicron variant. Due to the susceptibility to infection of the Omicron virus variant, the conditions for the safe organization of events have deteriorated. Due to the congestion in infection tracing, it has become almost impossible to break the infection chains that have originated from even small general assemblies. Therefore, the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group considers it necessary to ban public events altogether.
The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group strongly believes that such restrictions, which would affect society in a very broad sense and, in some cases, even resemble a state of lockdown, should primarily be defined at a national level.
The Helsinki Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group pays special attention to the fact that the state must also be prepared to support the cultural and event sector due to the economic losses caused by the restrictions.
The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group prepares local decision-making
The Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland established the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group on 10 September 2020. In line with a regional operating model devised by Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the group aims to strengthen the formation of a common situational assessment and to coordinate and prepare local and regional measures.
The group consists of top management from each member organisation and is responsible for the preparation and coordination of decision-making based on a shared assessment of the situation. Each member makes decisions independently, within its own sphere of authority. The group further intensifies the close metropolitan area collaboration that has continued throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The City of Helsinki is responsible for organising the group’s operations.
In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen also follows the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.
Photo credit: Tero Lahti