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Finland shuts down Uusimaa to fight coronavirus

The government has proposed restrictions on movement between the Helsinki region and the rest of Finland.

Uudenmaan kartta.
Image: Maiju Hakalahti / Yle, Joonas Haverinen / Yle, Tiina Paju / Yle

Most people will not be allowed to move between Uusimaa and the rest of Finland for at least three weeks after the government announced wide-ranging and much-trailed restrictions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The government is proposing to use emergency legislation to enforce the rules, which will also mean restaurants, bars and pubs need to prevent customers from entering their premises.

The move goes to parliament on Wednesday evening and is slated to come into force on Friday 27 March.

Uusimaa’s epidemic is at a more advanced stage than that in other parts of the country, necessitating the banning of travel from the southern region to the rest of the country.

The region contains the capital Helsinki, is home to almost a third of Finland’s population, some 1.7 million people, and has more than half of Finland’s confirmed coronavirus cases.

In announcing the shutdown, Prime Minister Sanna Marin noted some exceptions, saying that people would be allowed to return to their homes.

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