Finland to enhance restrictions to combat COVID-19

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HELSINKI, March 24 (Xinhua) — Finland will apply stricter restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as parties of the coalition government reached a consensus on Wednesday.

The final consultations among the five parties cleared the way for a legislative bill to increase restrictions, which will be applied to the worst-hit areas including its capital Helsinki.

For the first time, the use of face masks in transit or public places would be required. A penalty of 40 euros (about 47.2 U.S. dollars) would be levied otherwise.

People should in principle stay in their houses or courtyards, with exceptions such as trips to a shop, bank, or pharmacy. To commute to work or travel to their second homes at other locations will also be allowed.

Religious gatherings would not be allowed, except one-on-one meetings with a representative of a congregation.

The Department of Health and Welfare (THL) on Wednesday warned that up to 500 new infections would be seen each day in Helsinki in four weeks without stricter restrictions.

THL figures showed that 803 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths were reported on Wednesday, bringing the totals to 73,516 COVID-19 cases and 811 deaths. (1 euro = 1.18 U.S. dollars) Enditem

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