Finland will soon abandon its current proliferation, acceleration and basic corona measures, and the country will open up if infection rates fall and vaccination coverage improves, says Krista Kiuru (sd), Minister of Family and Basic Services.
Government there has been a clear change in attitudes towards the coronavirus since the summer holidays.
Ministers no longer emphasize threats and additional restrictions, as they have done for a year and a half. Now the focus is on giving up restrictions and opening up the country.
Also perhaps the most significant decision-maker in Finland’s Korona era, the Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (sd) looks forward to the opening of Finland, but is more concerned about many others.
Kiuru has said several times during the corona epidemic that Finland is on the edge of a knife.
So he says now.
“I can even say that if we haven’t been to a knife edge before, then unfortunately we’re there now. Vaccination coverage is not yet sufficient, and this is reflected in how the coronavirus has spread among the population in record numbers, ”says Kiuru.
“If Finns no longer commit themselves extensively to joint corona measures, we will be plunged into an uncontrollable epidemic. That would mean that realistically achievable vaccination coverage will not be enough and treatment of the epidemic will be prolonged. Personally, I want to believe in a vision where this disease can be brought under control and Finland open. ”
Lark fears that citizens will be disappointed at how slowly Finland will finally be able to open up if the number of infections does not fall sharply and people do not take vaccines quickly and widely enough.
The government has stated that Finland will open in October if the vaccination coverage at that time is at least 80–90 per cent for those aged 12 and over. Then Finland’s interest rate strategy will also change.
Read more: HS data: Finland will open wide in early October if more than 80% of citizens aged 12 and over have received two coronary vaccines at that time
“If the current upswing continues, 80 percent vaccination coverage will protect people from the need for intensive care, but it will not be enough to keep society open in every way.”
He says vaccine coverage needs to be higher the more virus there is in the country. Vaccines can also spread the virus and get a serious illness.
“Too much disease in the fall will mean that vaccination coverage must be as high as about 90 percent for society to be able to open up freely,” he says.
“The threat of opening up is that if this fourth wave is not brought under control, we will need even higher vaccination coverage to keep society open. It now appears that vaccination coverage of more than 85% is very difficult to achieve. This threat is real. ”
Lark is also concerned that Finland is thought to have passed the epidemic in the autumn, whatever was done now.
This is not the case, but according to Kiuru, the restrictions must be continued as necessary, but in a more proportionate way.
Hospital intensive care units are already under 40 years old. The coronavirus continues to kill people all the time, he recalls.
Kiuru says that Finland must continue a rather strict health security policy also at the borders, so that Finland does not lose the effectiveness of vaccination coverage.
Government discussed the new interest rate strategy on 12 August, but little has been reported to the public so far.
Kiuru says that if citizens take enough vaccines, Finland will switch to a completely different kind of epidemic control than usual.
Nationwide restrictions are also likely to be lifted for restaurants and regional restrictions will be introduced.
The country will be kept open through regional, targeted actions. Restrictions on a sector would be based on a broad assessment of the risk potential of the different sectors.
Later, the strategy’s action plan will define, among other things, recommendations on teleworking and masks, and initiate the necessary legislative changes.
There is also the possibility of a national emergency brake should the current or new epidemic fill hospitals again.
Lark says that Finland will abandon the three-step strategy if vaccination coverage is high in the whole country and roughly similar in different regions.
In the autumn, there may no longer be any areas of spread, acceleration and baseline and no response, but regional authorities would suppress outbreaks in the same way as, for example, what is now done with measles or tuberculosis.
Outbreaks would be carried out quickly and tracing, testing, quarantine and treatments would be initiated, but elsewhere in the country life would continue normally.
“I’m very worried if the dosing interval can’t be shortened.”
Lark believes, however, that vaccination coverage will rise to a sufficient level and a new time will come.
“It says that more than 80 percent of Finns have already taken one vaccine.”
According to Kiuru, there are likely to be so many vaccines coming to the country by the end of September that they will be enough to achieve 85% vaccination coverage for at least 12-year-olds for both vaccinations.
He is most concerned that vaccinations are progressing slowly for two groups: young men and those who speak a language other than Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue.
Lark feverishly awaits the next vaccination recommendation of the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) and the National Vaccination Expert Group Krar.
In July, Kiuru proposed that the doses be given more frequently. Shortening the dose interval would speed up the achievement of the desired vaccination coverage.
Read more: Minister Krista Kiuru: The administration of the second dose of vaccine should be speeded up and consideration should also be given to changing the vaccine interval – the “Walk-in service” could also be suitable for the second peak
“There are 1.5 million people in Finland who have only one dose and about a million people who do not have a single dose yet. These people are virtually unprotected against the delta variant. I am very worried if the dose interval cannot be shortened. ”
Lark says that far too little has been said in Finland about prolonged covid disease, ie how mildly ill people also get severe permanent symptoms.
“We have a lot of underestimation of the actual effects of the covid phenomenon on humans. I’m not just talking about its impact on mental health and many other diseases, but about the widespread long-term symptoms of the coronavirus alone. ”
“Studies around the world point to the possibility that this will be a new public disease.”
He says that about 120,000 people in Finland have fallen ill due to the coronavirus.
According to international studies, 10 to 20 percent suffer from prolonged and possibly permanent covid disease.
“Studies around the world show a very serious phenomenon and the possibility that it will be a new public disease.”
Next week, professor Risto Roineen the working group begins to study the prolonged covidia.
Last for weeks, the interest rate debate has been dominated by why regional government agencies have imposed restrictions that have seemed against the will of the government.
Read more: The opening of the events turned into a mess for which there is no point in blaming Ava
Read more: Ministries recommend avoiding restrictions on children and young people, instructions on events for the rest of the week
Last week, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health sent a letter of instruction reminding the government of “children first” guidance.
However, the regional government agencies did not make any changes to the decision concerning children and young people, because according to infectious disease experts, children in the area of spread must also be protected from infections.
In Kiuru’s opinion, the decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland on measures for children and young people was in accordance with the laws and guidelines laid down by Parliament.
However, due to poor information, even ministers spread the word that the hobbies of children and young people are banned.
“I believe that the regional government agencies had a sincere will with this decision to specifically keep as wide as possible the activities of children and young people, but communicatively, this message was drowned out in the first day’s information.”
Kiuru recalls that according to the government’s policy, the restrictions do not apply to those under 12 years of age.
Next the week will see how the regional government agencies react to the government’s letter of control sent out on Thursday, hoping the regional government authorities would treat low-risk events more leniently than other events.
Read more: STM sent a letter of intent to open: Low-risk public events can be organized indoors and outdoors for a wider audience
The guideline tries to take 75 per cent of the normal number of customers to theaters, for example, under strict health regulations.
However, it is difficult for the authorities to implement the guideline due to current laws.
“I believe that the regional government agencies also have a strong will to act more lightly in low-risk events and thus open up society.”
Born in August 1974 in Pori.
Master of Political Science.
Minister of Family and Basic Services since June 2019.
Minister of Education and Communications in 2014–2014.
Minister of Education in 2013–2014.
Minister of Housing and Communications in 2011–2013.
Member of Parliament since 2007.
Worked as a teacher of philosophy, religion and expression skills from 1996 to 2007.