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PM: Updated Covid strategy likely on Monday

The government is likely to waive the two-metre safety distancing requirement for public events within the next few days.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) spoke to reporters outside the House of the Estates on Thursday. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

Finland's updated coronavirus strategy is due to be approved on Monday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said after government talks in Helsinki on Thursday.

Cabinet ministers met at the House of the Estates in the afternoon to discuss the coronavirus situation and how society can return to post-pandemic normality.

The revised strategy would emphasise carefully targeted restrictions to allow the safest possible re-opening of society once sufficient vaccination coverage is reached.

"Our goal is to keep society as open as possible through vaccinations while at the same time ensuring that economic, health and social harm is kept to a minimum,” Marin said.

According to Marin, the current estimate is that sufficient vaccine coverage will be achieved in October, when restrictions could be more widely lifted.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said earlier on Thursday that Finland could reach a vaccination rate of 80 percent by October, especially if dose intervals are shortened from eight to six weeks in line with the updated guidance issued by the health institute THL.

More than half of the population is now fully vaccinated, with 72 percent having received at least one jab.

2m requirement set to go

In the meantime, the government is to decide on waiving the two-metre safety distancing requirement for public events on Friday or Monday. Several ministers arriving for Thursday's talks told reporters they thought the requirement was no longer necessary.

Marin said earlier this week that the government parties had agreed to remove the requirement from the Communicable Disease Act. The proposal will be presented to Parliament as soon as possible, Yle has learned.

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP) told reporters as she arrived at the meeting that the introduction of a Covid pass would also be discussed at Thursday's meeting.

The pass, similar to those already in use in other European countries, could enable the resumption of large events and festivals.