Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary of the social affairs and health ministry, told the nation on Monday evening (23 March) on TV that the storage of the National Emergency Supply Agency was now open and its goods are being distributed, calling it an “historic day”.
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“The trucks are running. This means that millions of surgical equipment and hundreds of thousands of protective masks are now in use. They will not run out,” reassured Sillanaukee.
The remark has raised concern and doubts among opposition parties, as many MPs and doctors have interpreted the decision as a warning sign. Well before the presumed COVID-19 infection peak, storage has been open, meaning domestic manufacturers are likely to have already been urged to produce more medical equipment.
On Tuesday (24 March), the government invited all parties to discuss how to impose tougher restrictions, as a strict legal framework continues to hinder concrete action.
By the afternoon it became clear that restaurants and bars will close within days and movement restrictions would apply across the country. The measures have unanimous backing in the Parliament which is now telecommuting.
As of Tuesday (24 March), the number of confirmed COVID19 infections had risen to 792, up almost a hundred in a day. Among them is Martti Ahtisaari, a former President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)