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Finland's Sanna Marin 'very sorry' for night out after close contact with COVID-19

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By Matthew Holroyd
Sanna Marin speaks to journalists as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels in October.
Sanna Marin speaks to journalists as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels in October.   -   Copyright  Johanna Geron, Pool Photo via AP

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin has apologised for visiting a nightclub after coming into contact with COVID-19.

Marin was criticised for her night out over the weekend after knowing another government minister had tested positive for the virus.

Finland does not require fully vaccinated citizens to self-isolate if they come into contact with a positive test, but it does advise citizens to avoid social contact and book a test.

The 36-year-old -- who has received two doses of COVID-19 jab -- initially defended her actions, saying she had followed the advice of her Secretary of State.

But in a post on Facebook, she apologised for her error of judgment and admitted she should have double-checked the measures.

"I should have used better judgment on Saturday evening and checked the instructions I had received a second time," Marin said, adding that different advice had been sent to her official work telephone.

"For not realising that this was not the way to act, I am very sorry," she stated. Marin has since tested negative for COVID-19.

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto had tested positive for COVID-19 just one day after being in close contact with Marin.

The PM said she became aware of the facts during an evening out with her husband and friends on Saturday in Helsinki.

Marin said on Facebook that her aides had called her and told her that "there would be no special measures".

But critics say that Marin should have set an example to Finland and voluntarily left the bar as soon as she was aware of the close contact.

Marin added that another message she received on Sunday morning had advised her to "avoid contact and seek testing".

Sanna Marin is not the first Nordic leader to face criticism for their actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, was fined €2,000 for breaking her own restrictions on public gatherings for her 60th birthday meal in February.

Meanwhile, ex-Swedish PM Stefan Lofven was photographed visiting a shopping centre last December, despite the government's advice not to.

The European Union's trade commissioner Phil Hogan also stepped down from his role last August over reports that he had travelled across Ireland to a golf event without respecting COVID-19 travel restrictions.