Wednesday 9/29/21
CORONAVIRUS - SAFE DISTANCING

Government of Finland presents proposal to lift the two-meter rule

"Although the virus is spreading in the same way as before, the population’s susceptibility to infections and to serious forms of the Covid-19 disease has changed," says the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Passengers wearing protective masks get off a train at Helsinki central station. Photo: Foreigner.fi.
Passengers wearing protective masks get off a train at Helsinki central station. Photo: Foreigner.fi

The government of Finland has submitted a proposal to Parliament on lifting the two-metre rule on safe distancing, among other matters, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said in a press release.

The Government proposes an amendment to the temporary section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act, which regulates the conditions for using premises intended for customers and event participants to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The exact definition of close contact would be removed, along with the incidence rate used as a criterion for its application. The two-metre rule and the 15-minute rule would be removed. The provisions on the conditions for using premises will remain in force until the end of this year.

According to the proposal, a Regional State Administrative Agency or a municipality may make decisions on the conditions for using premises located in its area if there are significant disease clusters in the municipality or the hospital district, if contact tracing is no longer efficient, and if an expert assessment indicates that the cluster poses a significant risk of wide-scale spreading of new infections in the area.

The section could be applied if experts assess that the epidemiological situation is significantly deteriorating.

'Susceptibility to infections has changed'

In the release, the Ministry explains that, "although the virus is spreading in the same way as before, the population’s susceptibility to infections and to serious forms of the Covid-19 disease has changed."

"The growing vaccine uptake protects individuals against infection through the vaccine they have received and, eventually, through herd immunity. In addition, a high vaccine uptake prevents the overburdening of the healthcare system by relieving personnel from both contact tracing and hospital care to other duties," the Ministry adds.

The amendment is expected to enter into force as soon as possible.

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