Finland's PM apologises for not isolating after night club photo surfaces

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin's news conference in Helsinki
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin holds a news conference outside the Finnish Parliament building in Helsinki, Finland December 8, 2021. Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS/File Photo

HELSINKI, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin apologised to the public on Wednesday after a photo surfaced of her in a nightclub following the foreign minister testing positive for COVID-19.

"I did wrong. I should have considered the situation more carefully," Marin said in a television interview by public broadcaster Yle on Wednesday night.

Marin said she decided not to cut her night out short on Saturday after being told she had been exposed to the coronavirus the day before, she wrote on Facebook on Monday after a Finnish gossip magazine published a photo of Marin in a crowded nightclub.

Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintila attended a floorball match between Finland and Latvia on Sunday despite being advised to avoid contact with others, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen went to a dinner party on Saturday while Finance Minister Annika Saarikko and Science and Culture Minister Antti Kurvinen cancelled their attendance of the same event to avoid contacts, evening paper Ilta-Sanomat reported on Tuesday.

All three ministers were exposed on Friday at a meeting attended by Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, who on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19.

Marin said she was at a restaurant when she received a phone call from her state secretary informing her about the exposure.

"He said ministers would not be quarantined because they all have been vaccinated twice," Marin wrote on Facebook, explaining why she continued socializing.

The Prime Minister's office later said it had sent the exposed ministers two text messages on Saturday recommending that they avoid contact with other people.

Marin said she had left her official phone at home and instead relied on aides reaching her on her personal phone.

Marin has since taken two COVID-19 tests that were negative. Lintila and Kaikkonen have also tested negative.

The Finnish Health Institute recommends avoiding social contact while waiting for COVID test results.

Reporting by Essi Lehto; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Grant McCool

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