PM criticises municipalities for ‘poor preparedness’ over coronavirus response

Sanna Marin says that local authorities should have 3-6 months worth of emergency supplies but that many didn't prepare in advance as they're supposed to do.

File picture of PM Sanna Marin (SDP) at coronavirus press conference, Helsinki, 20th March 2020 / Credit: Laura Kotila, VNK

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has criticised municipalities for their ‘poor preparedness’ in response to the coronavirus edpidemic.

It comes after the government has itself faced criticism over a lack of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and a limited testing regime.

Writing on Twitter, Marin said that according to the planning documents for a medical emergency like this, municipal healthcare facilities are required to have 3-6 months of protective equipment “and other essential health care supplies” for normal use.

“Some hospital districts, municipalities and other actors are properly prepared for the epidemic. Some operators, on the other hand, have not prepared for the epidemic in accordance with their obligations” says the PM.

Marin says the government looked into the overall preparedness of the country earlier this year as the threat from coronavirus because more clear, and already began ordering extra supplies back in February when it became clear that not all areas were sufficiently prepared.

“The government has also surveyed the readiness of Finnish companies to start production quickly to manufacture protective equipment” says Marin.

“Production for some products has started, and for others is about to start. Fortunately, Finland has extensive know-how and the ability to respond to the situation.”

The country’s emergency supply storehouses were opened up at the end of March, but some of the protective equipment inside for nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers was years out of date.

This week, the first shipment of 12 planes-loads of masks arrived from China but Finnish officials tell News Now Finland that “the risks are very high” to spend millions of euros on equipment from China, because the situation there is “quite chaotic” and that Finland has to pay first, without even being sure of the quality of what has been purchased.

Sanna Marin says that some municipalities and other organisations are looking to start blaming the government or the business community for their own lack of preparedness.