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President Niinistö urges elderly to socially distance themselves

The president said that some people’s actions recently could mean they end up in a hospital. 

Sauli Niinistö
71-year-old Niinistö is unimpressed with the attitude of some of his contemporaries. Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle

President Sauli Niinistö told Finns on Friday that everyone needs to take responsibility for implementing social distancing conventions in their everyday lives as Finland fights the coronavirus pandemic.

"We can take tough decisions, but decisions don’t stop infectious diseases on their own," said Niinistö. "We are all responsible for playing our part."

"Now it is for each of us to do our bit, personally and in our relationships with others."

Finland is recommending that people avoid social contacts as much as possible. The recommendation is especially strong for those aged over 70, who should stay home in quarantine-like conditions.

Niinistö said he was irritated by the impression apparently held by some older people that the population was now split into over and under 70s, with the older cohort required to stay indoors.

"That’s not the case," said Niinistö. "With these decisions we are protecting people, not shutting them away."

71-year-old Niinistö has noticed a strange attitude among some of his contemporaries that some of them are happy to take what comes if the virus strikes.

"This kind of bravery ends on the sickbed," said Niinistö. "Then people might think about whether they maybe should have been more careful. At its worst this could mean that your nearest and dearest are in the next bed, so we have to be sensible."

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