HELSINKI, March 23 (Reuters) - Finland must extend its closure of restaurants and bars until April 18 to combat the spread of coronavirus, the government said late on Monday, adding that it will propose the measure to the country’s parliament on Tuesday.
Bars and restaurants were closed for customers but allowed to provide takeaway meals as part of a three-week lockdown scheduled to end on March 28 and aimed at curbing the rise of COVID-19 infections in the Nordic country.
The planned extension, a result of negotiations between parties in Finland’s majority government, is expected to obtain a majority in parliament.
Four regions will be exempt from the restriction however due to their epidemic situation being better, the government said in a statement.
While remaining among the countries least hit by the pandemic, Finland has since the beginning of February seen a rise in daily confirmed infections and now has more people hospitalised than at any other time during the outbreak.
According to the Finnish Health Institute, the nation of 5.5 million people has recorded 72,073 infections, 808 deaths and now has 306 people being treated in a hospital due to COVID-19. (Reporting by Essi Lehto, editing by Terje Solsvik)
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