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The action plan implementing the hybrid strategy to manage the COVID-19 crisis was updated based on a Government resolution adopted on 22 December 2020. The updated action plan applies from January to May as a response to the continuing global pandemic and the re-escalation of the epidemic in Finland (Publications of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2021:1).
The aim of the action plan is to prevent the spread of the virus in Finland, protect the capacity of the healthcare system and shield and protect people, especially those who are most at risk. To effectively prevent the spread of infections, the measures based on the hybrid strategy must be epidemiologically justified, proactive and sufficiently broad in scope.
New SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged as a major epidemiological concern. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimated in its risk assessment of 29 December 2020 that the SARS-CoV-2 variant VOC 202012/01 has increased transmissibility compared to previously circulating variants. As new variants of concern become more common, they can accelerate the epidemic and the growing number of cases may jeopardise the healthcare system capacity.
In response to the risk of a rapid escalation of the epidemic, the Finnish Government recommended an update to the action plan implementing the hybrid strategy on 26 January 2021.
Three levels of measures are introduced in the action plan update. The sets of measures aim to prevent a re-escalation of the epidemic, curtail the spread of the more transmissible virus variants and thereby gain time for the combined effect of COVID-19 vaccinations and seasonality in curbing the epidemic. The measures will be used in accordance with the applicable legislation in each of the situations presented in the plan.