Contagious diseases and epidemics

Our role in an infectious disease outbreak

The effective prevention of infectious diseases requires that different authorities work together.

We coordinate and supervise infectious disease prevention efforts in our area. We make sure that hospital districts are prepared for localised public health emergencies. Regional State Administrative Agencies have a join representative in the working group for social and health care preparedness and the operative group subject to the working group. Both groups are governed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. If necessary, we compile data from different areas to produce an overview of the situation as a response to report requests made by different ministries.

Prevention of infectious diseases: Roles of different authorities (stm.fi)

We coordinate and supervise infectious disease prevention and preparedness efforts in our area

  • The Division of Basic Services, Legal Protection and Licences of Regional State Administrative Agencies monitors that local authorities, joint local authorities and hospital districts are prepared for localised public health emergencies. We also make sure that the provision of social care services and patient safety are not compromised even in an emergency situation. We collect information about preparedness efforts, coordinate and, if necessary, take enforcement measures appropriate for the situation. The Division of Basic Services, Legal Protection and Licences produces data for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from different areas based on separate requests for status updates made by the Ministry.
  • When authorities direct emergency response efforts in our area, the role of the Division of Basic Services, Legal Protection and Licences is to support the competent authorities and, if necessary, coordinate the activities of different responders. Our job is to assist the Ministry of the Interior in managing rescue services, collecting the necessary data and maintaining situational pictures.
  • Education services observe the instructions and guidelines issued by health care authorities. Where necessary, the Division of Education and Culture relays up-to-date information to local authorities and produces an overview of our areas if requested to do so by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • The production of overviews of different areas is coordinated by the local preparedness committees led by Regional State Administrative Agencies. Members of the preparedness committees represent agencies such as hospital districts, rescue services, regional preparedness committees, the police, organisations and ministries. 

We work together with hospital districts to prevent the spread of infectious diseases

We can order health checks for people in a town or workplace, facility, vehicle or other similar place if checks are needed to prevent the spread of a generally hazardous infectious disease. Attending a health check is voluntary.

We can decide that attending a health check is mandatory, if it is necessary for the prevention of the spread of a generally hazardous infectious disease or a suspected generally hazardous infectious disease.

Decisions on closing establishments and banning gatherings are made by local authorities and Regional State Administrative Agencies

The body responsible for the prevention of infectious diseases of a local authority may impose the closure of social and health care units, educational institutions, nurseries, apartments and other similar facilities in its area and ban meetings and gatherings. Restrictions like these can only be imposed if they have been deemed necessary for the prevention of the infectious disease.

Each Regional State Administrative Agency may impose similar restrictions in their areas when they are needed in multiple municipalities. We make decisions about restrictions on gatherings and closing of facilities based on suggestions made by a Chief Medical Officer of a Regional State Administrative Agency. The decisions are confirmed by the Director General of a Regional State Administrative Agency.

Sudden public health emergencies

If actions needed to be taken quickly, we can impose quarantine orders on people and goods or impose an isolation order on persons in public service employment relationships on behalf of the physician in charge of communicable diseases of a local authority or hospital district. However, in these situations, too, the primary responsible person is the physician in charge of communicable diseases in public service employment relationship of a local authority or hospital district.