Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin missed a Wuhan coronavirus contact alert because she had left her government phone at home when she went out partying at a Helsinki nightclub.
The millennial prime minister was alerted to possible Covid-19 contact exposure after Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, who the premier had met with on Friday, tested positive for the virus. However, Marin missed alerts instructing her to limit contacts on Saturday evening which were sent to her ministerial government telephone.
Ms Marin later admitted that she had left the ministerial phone at home while she had gone out to a local restaurant and a nightclub in Helsinki. She claimed that she had only brought her parliamentary phone with her, SVT reports.
“I should have used better judgement on Saturday night. In retrospect, I realise that I should have checked the information again,” Marin said on Facebook.
Finland’s public broadcaster YLE reported on Tuesday that two complaints had been submitted to the Chancellor of Justice regarding the incident. The first is that Marin did not have the ministerial telephone with her.
The second complaint revolves around the failure of the Prime Minister’s Office to get in contact with Marin to inform her of the coronavirus exposure.
According to the Secretary of State, Marin received the notification that she had been exposed to the coronavirus at around 7:20 pm, but did not receive subsequent texts recommending she limit contact with others as they were sent later in the evening to her ministerial phone.
The incident comes as Finland has seen a surge in new Chinese coronavirus cases in recent weeks, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The incident has been criticised by opposition party members, including Arja Juvonen of the populist Finns Party who labelled Marin’s actions indifferent and careless, while chairman of the Christian Democrats Sari Essayah said that Marin had made a failure in judgement.
It remains to be seen how the incident will impact Marin’s government’s popularity in the country, which has seen a steep decline in recent months. A November poll revealed that 52 per cent of Finns approved of the largely female and millennial generation-led coalition, compared to 62 per cent in March.
The November poll was the weakest for the government that has been conducted by Kantar TNS, down 17 points since the coalition’s best result in the spring of 2020.