Helsinki region medical director calls for tighter restrictions

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Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) medical director Markku Mäkijärvi noted on Sunday that mutated forms of coronavirus accounted for nearly half of new infections in the capital region.

Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Chief doctor Markku Mäkijärvi said the Helsinki University Hospital district was bracing for an increase in patient numbers as the virus accelerated.

“If cases continue to increase, the ability of health care to meet patient demand will be threatened,” he said, adding that plans are already in place to reduce non-emergency care to free up resources for coronavirus patients.

Mäkijärvi called on the government to impose restrictions on bars and restaurants serving alcohol. He said the coronavirus situation in the country had deteriorated in recent weeks, as nearly half of new infections are now caused by a mutated form of the virus.

“The rapidly worsening coronavirus situation and the upcoming three-week winter vacation period requires action,” he said, while noting that the matter was in the hands of the government.

Amendments to the disease law that take effect on Monday, February 22 will make it easier for authorities to shut down private businesses. The changes give municipalities and regional state administrative agencies (Avi) more powers to impose regional restrictions.

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