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Helsinki region medical director calls for tighter restrictions

HUS medical director Markku Mäkijärvi on Sunday said new curbs should be targeted at bars and restaurants.

Markku Mäkijärvi, HUS
Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) medical director Markku Mäkijärvi on Sunday noted that mutated forms of coronavirus accounted for nearly half of new infections in the capital region. Image: Matti Myller / Yle
Yle News

Chief medical officer Markku Mäkijärvi said Helsinki University Hospital district was preparing for an increase in patients as the virus gathers pace.

"If cases continue to rise, the ability of healthcare to meet patient demand will be endangered," he said, adding that plans are already in place to scale down non-urgent care to free up resources for coronavirus patients.

Mäkijärvi called on the government to impose restrictions on bars and restaurants serving alcohol. He said that the country's coronavirus situation had deteriorated in the past few weeks, as nearly half of new infections are now caused by a mutated form of the virus.

"The rapid worsening of the coronavirus situation and the forthcoming three-week winter holiday period necessitate action," he explained, though noting that the matter was in the government's hands.

Amendments to the disease law coming into force from Monday 22 February will make it easier for authorities to close privately-owned businesses. The amendments provide municipalities and Regional State Administrative Agencies (Avi) with more powers to impose regional restrictions.

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