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Media reports PM Marin missed Covid exposure messages while out socialising

The Prime Minister told Helsingin Sanomat that she could have exercised better judgement after learning of Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto's (Green) coronavirus infection.

Sanna Marin.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP). Image: Nella Nuora / Yle
Yle News

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) missed two separate text messages instructing her to self-isolate while she was out socialising on Saturday evening in Helsinki as she did not have her government phone with her at the time, according to a report by news agency STT.

The first message instructing members of the government to self-isolate if they had been in close contact with Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Green) was sent just before 8pm on Saturday, STT reported. Haavisto tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

The second of the two messages, which were both sent by the government's Chief Security Officer, was dispatched at about 10pm on Saturday evening.

Marin told Helsingin Sanomat and tabloid Iltalehti that the text messages were sent to her government phone, which she had not taken with her on Saturday evening.

Marin added that she did however have a parliamentary phone, to which she received a call informing her of Haavisto's confirmed coronavirus infection.

Writing on Twitter, Marin explained that she was told during this phone call that there was no need for her to take any special precautions.

"In this connection, I was not instructed to avoid contacts," Marin wrote.

Helsingin Sanomat further reported that Secretary of State Henrik Haapajärvi told the Prime Minister about Haavisto's coronavirus infection at about 7.20pm on Saturday evening.

Marin admitted to Helsingin Sanomat that she should have used better judgment when she was given this information.

She also told HS that she always has at least one of her official phones with her.

"I am always available, and even on this occasion I was reached," Marin said.

Marin: Instructions not read until Sunday

In her tweet, Marin added that she only read the instructions sent by the Chief Security Officer about self-isolating on Sunday.

"I usually have both phones, but this was not the case [on Saturday] as it was a day off. It was only in the morning [on Sunday] that I noticed and read the messages on the other phone," Marin told Ilta-Sanomat.

The prime minister also revealed in her tweets that she began following the instructions on Sunday immediately after reading the messages, and arranged a coronavirus test.

Marin's first test proved negative and she scheduled another test for Monday, adding that she will avoid all contacts until after she receives the second test result.

Speaking to Iltalehti, Marin said she will return to work as normal if the second test proves to be negative.

Marin's night out in Helsinki was first reported by the entertainment magazine Seiska, which wrote that the prime minister had been out in at least two different bars in the city with her husband and a few other people.

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