On Thursday, the government announced that Finland is about to enter a three-week shutdown, beginning on 8 March.
This means that in the areas where the virus is in the 'spreading' and 'acceleration' stages, an immediate transition to the stricter 'Tier 2' measures is recommended.
These tougher 'Tier 2' measures will apply to seven areas: Helsinki and Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Vaasa, Åland and Lapland.
The government also recommended for hospital districts in the acceleration stage to impose restrictions effective immediately.
These areas are East Savo, South Karelia, Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Päijät-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, North Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia and Kymenlaakso.
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The current recommendations in the spreading and acceleration areas include:
• Extensive recommendation on remote work and the use of face masks
• Protection of risk groups
• Distance learning for higher education institutions
• Restrictions and closures on the use of public premises
• Suspension of adult group hobbies
• Restrictions on air passenger traffic and border crossings
In addition, under the amended Communicable Diseases Act, the government has advised:
• Restrictions on gatherings with more than six people
• Avoiding private events with more than six people
• Municipalities to step up their measures in monitoring the implementation of quarantine and self-isolation
The government said it was prepared to declare a state of emergency throughout the country while the Prime Minister said she had discussed declaring a state of emergency with the President. Parliamentary groups are discussing the situation on Thursday.
Restrictions in schools
With effect from 8 March, grades 7-9 and Upper Secondary school pupils, along with those aged over 16 in vocational education, will switch to remote learning in areas where the epidemic is in the community transmission or acceleration phase.
Daycare and early years education providers will remain open, as will schools up to grade six.
Restrictions to hobbies
From 8 March, indoor hobbies will be suspended for adults and children aged over 12.
Closure of pubs, bars and restaurants
Businesses serving food and drinks would be closed during the period of emergency conditions from 8 to 28 March.
The sale of takeaways would still be allowed.
Legislation on the closures and compensation due to businesses would be presented to parliament next week, the Prime Minister said on Thursday.