Finnish government blocades capital to stem corona spread

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Tough new restrictions banning travel between the Finnish capital and the rest of the country will be introduced from Friday to curb the spread of coronavirus, the country's prime minister said Wednesday.

"Movement into and out of the capital region, Uusimaa, will be forbidden," Finland's Sanna Marin told a press conference.

"Everybody will however have the right to return home or to their municipality of residence."

She said exceptions will be made for essential travel, including cases such as the death of a relative or under child visitation arrangements.

Goods will also continue to flow under the restrictions which will last for three weeks.

1.7 million people live in the province of Uusimaa, approximately a third of Finland's population.

Ministers stressed that over 500 of the country's 880 confirmed cases in Finland, and two of the three recorded deaths, have been in the Uusimaa region.

Not all are being tested and authorities have said the real number of infections could be 30 times higher.

On Wednesday the government also submitted a decree to parliament giving lawmakers emergency powers to force qualified healthworkers under the age of 68 to come into work.

However Marin said she hadn't managed to gain the necessary parliamentary backing to force restaurants to offer only takeaway or delivery services.

© 2020 AFP

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