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Lockdown law stuck in parliament till after Easter

Parliament will not have time to approve movement restrictions before the Easter break.

MPs won't vote on the lockdown law until after Easter. Image: Lotta Laakso/Yle

A package of lockdown measures proposed by the government this week will not be approved before Easter, as parliamentary time ran out on efforts to pass the bill.

In the debate on Friday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) told MPs that the proposed laws were unavoidable.

"In the regions with the worst epidemic situation, we need a sufficiently comprehensive restriction that would significantly reduce contacts between people," said Marin.

Even so, the laws will not be approved before the four-day Easter holiday.

MPs are not sitting in Easter week, so parliament is unable to vote on the bill before the holiday. The next possible date to decide the matter in parliament would be Tuesday 6 April.

Parliamentary committees, however, will continue to handle the bill throughout the week.

On Thursday the government submitted a proposal to parliament with which it can propose a temporary restriction on freedom of movement, as well as implement mandatory use of masks in areas worst hit by the corona epidemic.

Secretary General of Parliament, Maija-Leena Paavola, told Yle earlier that the proceedings would take too long for the laws to be taken into effect before Easter.

Interior minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) echoed her sentiments on Thursday night’s A-Studio, saying that there would be a rush to implement the laws before Easter.

The laws would severely restrict movement in areas worst-hit by the pandemic, with the measures expected to be in force in the Helsinki area and in Turku initially.

In Friday's debate PM Marin was also asked whether Finland had decided to focus incoming vaccine doses on the areas worst-hit by the pandemic, rather than vaccinating the whole country at an even pace.

She said that this was an option, and could be considered after the elderly, frontline healthcare workers and others at-risk from Covid had been vaccinated throughout the country, but that no proposal was on the table yet.

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