Exposed to virus, Finland PM bashed over clubbing | Inquirer News
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Exposed to virus, Finland PM bashed over clubbing

/ 05:38 AM December 10, 2021

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks to the media during a press conference outside the Finnish Parliament building in Helsinki, Finland, on December 8, 2021. AFP PHOTO

HELSINKI—Finland’s prime minister came under sustained criticism on Tuesday after it was revealed she stayed out dancing until the early hours on the weekend despite knowing she had been exposed to Covid-19.

Sanna Marin, 36, apologized on Monday after a gossip magazine published photos of her attending a Helsinki nightclub on Saturday night until almost 4 a.m, hours after her Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto tested positive for coronavirus.

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“My husband and I… had been out to eat, been shopping in town, seen friends and also spent time [enjoying] the evening and nightlife,” the Social Democrat leader wrote on Facebook.

She added that she was told by an official that the coronavirus guidelines did not require her to isolate, despite having been in contact with an infected person.

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‘Serious mistake’

“I should have used better judgment and double-checked the guidance given to me. I am very sorry for not understanding that I needed to do that,” Marin wrote. A poll commissioned by TV channel MTV3 found that two-thirds of respondents thought Marin’s night out was a “serious mistake.”

Opposition parties also slammed Marin for potentially breaking official Covid guidelines and for missing a later text message warning her to isolate.

Finance Minister Annika Saarikko from the Centre Party, the ruling coalition partner, stopped short of criticizing Marin directly.

However Saarikko told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that she was “glad I was at home” when she received the text message to isolate, adding that she had canceled her plans for the next day.

Finland has sustained some of Europe’s lowest incidences of the virus throughout the pandemic, recording more than 196,000 cases and 1,384 deaths in the country of 5.5 million.

However, infections are now at an all-time high, with 308 new cases per 100,000 population in the last fortnight. The country has also recorded eight cases of the new Omicron variant.

Youngest PM

On Monday, magazine Seiska reported that Marin was seen in the Butchers nightclub in Helsinki, dancing with friends until nearly 4 a.m.

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Marin, who became the world’s youngest prime minister when appointed in 2019, has previously been the target of criticism over parties at her official residence and social media posts in which she poses with friends or appears to promote fashion accessories.

In October she responded to critics with an Instagram post quoting a Finnish pop song that said: “Hey boom-boom-boomer, put some ice in your hat and cool it.”

“I’m a representative of the younger generation,” she later told broadcaster Yle, “and yes, that’s reflected in the way I do my work and how I live,” Marin said. —AFP

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