Decisive week for so-called emergency braking, government official says

THIS WEEK will be essential in determining whether or not the government should use the so-called emergency brake, officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health believe.

Pasi pohjola, the director of strategic affairs at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Saturday declared to YLE that the prevailing situation meets almost all the criteria for using the brake to introduce more stringent restrictions in an attempt to bring the situation under control.

The criteria include an exacerbated epidemiological situation, waning vaccine protection, the emergence of a new variant and an increasing burden on hospital resources.

“These criteria are indeed met,” Pohjola confirmed on YLE A-studio. “Then there is of course the criterion that the measures adopted at regional level are not enough. And because the hardest part [regional] measures have only just been adopted, we will have to wait and see if the measures will have an impact.

Regional authorities recently tightened restrictions, especially on public gatherings, but they can be bypassed using the coronavirus passport.

Pohjola said the measures should start to impact infection numbers from this week. If they do not impact the number of infections and the strain on hospital resources, the government may have no choice but to slow down.

Whether this is necessary is currently being discussed by a formal inter-administrative working group.

“The emergency brake makes it possible to suppress public events and the use of facilities, or even to temporarily close facilities if necessary. And if necessary, it would be possible to prevent at the national or regional level the use of the coronavirus passport as an alternative to the restrictions, ”he told YLE.

Limiting the use of the passport, he explained, would reduce contact between people, as vaccinated people would not come into contact with each other in environments such as restaurants.

The government also identifies other measures in its declaration on the emergency braking mechanism, such as strengthening border health security measures and the transition to distance education in education.

Information obtained by the public broadcaster suggests that discussions have already taken place on removing the coronavirus passport at borders and returning to larger-scale testing in an effort to delay entry of the omicron variant. The transition to distance education, on the other hand, is seen as a measure of last resort.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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