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THL boss: Covid pass rethink could be necessary

Health experts in Finland worry vaccinated individuals carrying the virus will infect unvaccinated people.

Markku Tervahauta.
Markku Tervahauta. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle
Yle News

Markku Tervahauta, Director General of the Finnish institute for health and welfare (THL), said residents in Finland may soon face restrictions to curb the virus that cannot be circumvented with a Covid pass.

Speaking to Yle talk show Ykkösaamu on Saturday, Tervahauta said it may be time to retire the pass in its current form in the face of the Omicron variant. The passport enables people to gain entry to various events. Obtaining one requires vaccination against Covid-19, a certificate of a recent negative test result, or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19.

Health experts in Finland now worry that people unvaccinated against Covid will contract the infection from vaccinated individuals carrying the virus.

The THL has yet to offer the government a recommendation on when Finland could pull its Covid "emergency brake," which would effectively reintroduce various epidemic-related restrictions.

"We have to follow the new infections day by day as well as hospital capacity," he told Yle, saying more stringent measures would be necessary if regions were not on top of restrictions to curb the spread of infections.

Speaking to Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said she wanted to see local and regional efforts to mitigate the virus ahead of any overreaching measures.

On Friday the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) raised its emergency preparedness to the highest level owing to the deteriorating Covid situation.

Earlier this week the government said occupational healthcare could be brought in to speed up Covid vaccinations. While Tervahauta said he agreed with this idea, he said it was important that municipalities continue to offer vaccination priority to older people and risk groups.

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