PM Marin "sorry" for night out, cites comms failure

The Prime Minister said she had not been informed about updated guidelines that recommend ministers avoid social interactions after being exposed to the virus

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP)hasapologised for her failure to comply with updated government regulations pertaining to the Covid-19 virus during a night out on Saturday.

"I should have used my own judgement and stayed away from people as a precaution," said Marin.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Marin revealed that she had not been apprised of the new guidelines, which recommend that ministers self-isolate immediately after being informed that they have been exposed to the virus.

The instructions were updated by the Prime Minister's Office around two weeks ago.

Marin has been at the centre of a media storm after reports emerged that she had been clubbing with friends in central Helsinki on Saturday night and missed two messages cautioning her against close contact with others.

The Prime Minister had met Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) on Friday, a day before Haavisto tested positive for the virus.

At Wednesday's press conference, Marin reiterated that she was acting according to information and instructions provided by State Secretary Henrik Haapajärvi.

Haapajärvi conveyed the news about Haavisto's infection on Saturday evening via a phone call on Marin's parliamentary phone.

According to the Prime Minister, the State Secretary did not advise that she avoid close contact with others and said there was no need to take any special precautions.

Marin said she did not question the instructions as they were in line with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's (THL) current recommendations for double vaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus.

While the government's Chief Security Officer sent Marin text messages with updated instructions later that night, the messages were sent to her government phone, which she reportedly did not have at the time.

Marin admitted that there was a failure in communication due to the lack of adequate information. "We must ensure that this does not happen again in the future," she said.

The Prime Minister also apologised for her own actions. "I should have used better judgement and verified the instructions again. I apologise for my own behaviour and actions. I have not conducted myself in the best way," she stated.

According to Marin, guidelines for those who have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus will be reviewed on Wednesday afternoon with the aim of integrating the recommendations of the government and the parliament.