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Finland could start lifting coronavirus restrictions on businesses and youth activities from next week, but the borders will remain closed to tourists for at least the coming months, ministers said on Wednesday after agreeing an "exit plan".
A decision to lift the state of emergency, which will allow the government to shut down businesses and restrict movement, could be taken next week "if the situation continues to improve," Prime Minister Sanna Marin said at a press conference.
With the pandemic still worsening in many European countries, she warned that "the same can happen in Finland if we don't stay tuned".
Infection rates in the Nordic country have plummeted last month, with just 83 new cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks. According to the WHO, Finland is one of the lowest virus incidences in Europe.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister's office released a roadmap for the country's reopening between now and August, agreed after negotiations between the five-party coalition and public consultations.
Restrictions on youth sports and hobbies will gradually be lifted from April, while libraries and museums, currently closed in the hardest hit areas, will reopen in May.
The current limit of 10 people for meetings will be lifted for outdoor events in July and in August at the earliest for indoor meetings.
The ban on all but the most important international arrivals – a border policy previously described by Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo as the toughest in the EU – will only be partially lifted in the coming months.
Finland will not be reopened to tourism until the international situation improves, Ohisalo said on Wednesday and warned the Finns to spend their summer holidays in the country.
Nevertheless, Finland expects to implement its so-called digital vaccination passport system "much earlier" than the EU target of late June, said Marin.
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Finland could start lifting virus restrictions next week: PM (2021, April 21)
accessed on April 21, 2021
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