Government discusses today, Friday, possible changes to the recommendations for children and young people.
Minister of Science and Culture with responsibility for Sport Annika Saarikko (center) said in Yle’s A-studio on Monday that the government needs to consider recommendations for the overall consideration to be realized for children and young people.
Restrictions on hobbies for children and young people have been a topic of discussion in recent weeks. On 12 January, the Olympic Committee and the federations sent an open letter to Saariko calling for the restrictions to be relaxed.
So far no changes have come. Currently, all indoor hobbies in Uusimaa are also prohibited for children and young people, with the exception of racing and top sports.
The Metropolitan Area Corona Coordination Working Group has discussed the restrictions in its meetings but has indicated that it expects the government to make changes to its recommendations.
Restrictions are intended to control infections. The authors of the open letter, for their part, argued, for example, that sports clubs are an economic and social resource. They also recalled that quarantine measures in sports were rare.
On Monday, a working group set up by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Children, Youth and the Coronary Crisis report it was argued that in the management of the coronary crisis, it is important to ensure the continuation of leisure activities. On Thursday, the Committee on Education also referred to the issue in its statement on infectious diseases.
“In the implementation of the Communicable Diseases Act, the committee says it is essential to emphasize that children can participate in physical and cultural activities more flexibly than current emergency practices,” the Education Committee said in a statement.
HS explained for this purpose, statistical information from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area on the distribution of infections in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area between different sports and, for example, between indoor and outdoor sports.
No statistics like this can be found. Infections are reported as a whole, where, for example, wrestling and playing the piano would go into the same category of hobbies if infections appeared in them. There is also no breakdown of different species in the reporting to the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Infections of different sports have been addressed in a study by the Research Center for Racing and Top Sports (Kihu), which was based directly on information collected from clubs. This study was also invoked in an open letter sent to Saariko.
Although species-specific infections are not recorded, the matter becomes clear in the context of infection tracing. Thus, those working with the coronavirus have an overall idea of which species have become infected. The experiences are similar to those presented in the Kihu report.
“In practice, there is experience that infections have been detected, especially in team sports and contact sports, but it is difficult to draw conclusions about the safety of an individual sport based on a few infections,” says the Espoo infectious disease doctor. Topi Turunen.
According to Turunen, about four per cent of autumn and winter infections in Espoo have been localized for hobbies. Since the beginning of September, there have been 142 infections in hobbies, of which 50 among 0–19-year-olds. In just under half of all infections, the source of the infection is identified. According to Turunen, most of the hobby infections are sports hobbies.
50 infections confirmed and suspected in children’s and young people’s hobbies account for about 1.5 per cent of the total number of infections that have been in Espoo 3,401. Due to uninsured cases, the percentage may be higher.
When the restrictions began at the turn of November-December, it had an effect. In November, there were 52 hobby infections, of which 12 in children and adolescents. In December, the total was 10, of which six in children and adolescents. The figures are recorded according to the sampling date, ie infections at the beginning of the month may have been acquired in the previous half of the month.
Turunen says that the importance of the welfare side of the restrictions can not be underestimated, but points to the Espoo yet clearly spreads. In addition, he considers the modified virus to be a ‘black horse’ whose effects are not yet certain.
There is also a legal reason for infections that affect hobbies. The municipality can influence hobbies in general by closing its own premises.
“Infections are fought where possible. It can lead to seemingly unfair situations. No one really thinks that a karaoke bar would be less dangerous than an exercise hobby. ”
According to Turunen, there are reasons for this that children and young people go to school, even though they cannot go into indoor sports. Hobbies often come from a wider area.
“There have been few confirmed further infections in schools in relation to the number of children and exposure opportunities. It does not seem to be the most favorable place for infections to occur. On the other hand, school differs from hobbies in that the environment is more or less with the same group. ”