Variants prompt Finland’s return to emergency

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker wearing a protective suit and a mask takes a swab sample for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a drive-through testing station in Salo, Finland

Finland plans to reintroduce a state of emergency that would allow the Nordic country to close restaurants for a three-week period starting March 8 as it fights the variant first discovered in Britain.

“I know you’re tired. So am I. But we have to be strong and now the situation is more difficult,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin told a press conference on Thursday. The variant “is more difficult to tackle, the old tools are not enough. Closed borders are not enough.”

The new measures require students over 13 to switch to distance learning and halts their leisure activities. A public meeting ban for more than six people is introduced and people are urged to avoid private gatherings. People in Finland would still have to work remotely and wear face masks.

A formal text will be presented next week before parliament.

In March, Finnish lawmakers adopted the emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus crisis. The country has seen 757 virus deaths in the pandemic

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