Helsinki - SPA
Finland restricts domestic travel from populous region in virus fight

The Finnish government is to restrict travel to and from the country's most populous region in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said late Wednesday.

The move - effective from Friday until April 19 - affects the Uusimaa region that includes Helsinki, the capital, and the cities of Espoo and Vantaa.

Uuusimaa has accounted for about two thirds of the around 880 Finnish coronavirus cases reported as of Wednesday.

"Restricting freedom of movement is the only way to limit the coronavirus spread," Marin said at a press conference.

The aim was also to shield health services in other regions from overload, and reduce the strain on intensive care units in Uusimaa.

Exceptions to the travel restrictions include essential work trips, trips back home, but not trips to cabins or summer cottages.

The ministers of justice and interior, who were also present, said the right to life more important than the right to freedom of movement.

Police were to supervise the checks, but could also ask for assistance from the military, if necessary, the interior minister and defence minister said.

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