Finland’s prime minister has apologised for going clubbing until 4am at the weekend after it was revealed she had received a text telling her to isolate.
Sanna Marin, 36, apologised on Monday after a gossip magazine published photos of her attending a Helsinki nightclub on Saturday night until almost four in the morning, hours after her Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto tested positive for coronavirus.
‘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.
‘I should have used better judgement and double-checked the guidance given to me. I am very sorry for not understanding that I needed to do that,’ Marin wrote.
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.
But she later admitted she had missed a text telling her to isolate on a phone she had left at home.
The prime minister said she sought a test immediately on Sunday morning upon seeing the text which came back negative, but she has since incurred criticism for her lapse in judgement.
‘I should have used better judgement and double-checked the guidance given to me. I am very sorry for not understanding that I needed to do that,’ Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin wrote on Facebook (Marin pictured with media outside the Finnish Parliament building in Helsinki earlier today)
Marin, 36, was seen enjoying a night out at the Butchers nightclub in Helsinki with friends on Saturday, but it was later revealed that she had ‘missed’ a text telling her to isolate after her foreign minister tested positive for Covid
Marin was seen enjoying a night out at the Butchers nightclub in Finland’s capital city with friends on Saturday, after having dined out at Grotesk restaurant, according to local newspaper Seiska.
The prime minister was seen dancing at the club until 4am, but it was later revealed that she had been in contact with the Covid-positive foreign minister hours earlier.
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 the text message warning her to isolate.
Finance Minister Annika Saarikko from the Centre Party, the ruling coalition partner, stopped short of criticising Marin directly, but said she was ‘glad I was at home’ when she received the text telling her to isolate.
Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin – seen here in 2019 – has previously boasted of being a representative of ‘the younger generation’
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.’
Finland has sustained some of Europe’s lowest rates of the virus throughout the pandemic, having recorded a mere 196,000 cases and 1,384 deaths among the country’s 5.5 million inhabitants.
Infections are now at an all-time high, however, with 308 new cases per 100,000 population in the last fortnight. The country has also recorded eight cases of the new Omicron variant.
The country’s high vaccination rate – with 72 per cent of the population double jabbed – and the use of a Covid health pass to allow access to some restaurants and nightclubs has been lauded for keeping the rate of infections low.
The country’s high vaccination rate – with 72 per cent of the population double jabbed – and the use of a Covid health pass to allow access to some restaurants and nightclubs has kept the rate of infections low
She arrived at the Butchers nightclub in Helsinki just before midnight on Saturday with her husband Markus Räikkönen and their friends where she drank beer and danced.
An eyewitness told a local newspaper: ‘[Marin] sat down with friends and it seemed fun. I noticed that Sanna was a little disturbed by people staring.
‘At the end of the evening, the party surrounded the Prime Minister so that she could be more at ease.’
Under current restrictions, people in Finland must present a Covid health pass – which requires them to be have been jabbed, tested negative for Covid, or recovered from Covid – to be allowed entry into bars and restaurants.
She arrived at the Butchers nightclub at midnight with her husband Markus Räikkönen and their friends where she drank Heineken beer and danced
Finland also took further measures last week after the government announced that it will mandate vaccinations for health and social care staff.
The government also told regional authorities to boost their test and trace efforts and to recommend remote work in areas where the virus is spreading.
Finland is now also requiring all travellers arriving into the country to have a Covid certificate showing they have been vaccinated in order to stop the Omicron variant from spreading.
Those who do not have a valid certificate will need to get a Covid-19 test.