Recommendations cover, among other things, hobbies, teleworking, distance learning, public spaces and gatherings.
Government on Thursday made strong recommendations for measures to control the coronavirus epidemic. The recommendations relate to, among other things, public events, hobbies and teleworking.
The second wave of the coronavirus epidemic was originally intended to be addressed through regional decision-making, but in the government’s view, decision-making has not been effective enough.
Prime minister Sanna Marin (sd) noted in the morning that infection rates have risen at an alarming rate.
“We need proactive and strong enough action to keep the epidemic under control and prevent the spread of the disease,” Marin said.
Both Marin and the Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (sd) have criticized areas for not all waking up to restrictive measures in time.
The purpose of the government’s stronger recommendations is to encourage hospital districts, municipalities and regional government agencies to take faster decisions if the epidemic situation in the region worsens. This was done, for example, in Vaasa, when coronavirus infections in the area increased significantly. The Regional State Administrative Agency of Western and Inner Finland banned all indoor and outdoor public events attended by more than ten people.
The Minister of Science and Culture will participate in the Government’s press conference on the new recommendations Annika Saarikko (Central), Minister of Education Li Andersson (left), Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (sd) and the Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero (sd).
Annika Saarikko stated at the press conference that the second phase of the epidemic is now at hand.
“Now, if ever, all efforts must be made to ensure that together we can keep the situation in Finland good and avoid the complete closure of society,” Saarikko emphasized.
HS went through what changes in everyday life with the new recommendations.
Gatherings and public spaces
The government has now issued more detailed guidelines, which vary by region and disease situation. The aim of the regional recommendations is that the whole country does not have to be completely shut down. Restriction recommendations depend on whether the area is in the baseline phase, an acceleration phase, or a spread phase.
Based on the incidence of infections, the Vaasa Hospital District is in the process of spreading the epidemic. The epidemic is accelerating in Southwest Finland, Helsinki-Uusimaa, Southern Ostrobothnia, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa and Åland.
The government recommends that during the acceleration phase, the number of customers in public spaces be halved. During the spread phase, it is possible to close public spaces.
Annika Saarikko said that the aim is to keep libraries open, for example.
During the dissemination phase, public events are recommended to be banned. Gatherings of more than ten people are good to deny.
The government can make recommendations on meeting restrictions, but regional authorities such as municipalities, hospital districts and regional government agencies have the decision-making power. The government has the power to restrict travel and to restrict business activities, such as restaurant opening hours.
Regional government agencies have done decisions meeting restrictions every month. The restrictions in force in October allow for events for more than 50 people, as long as the safety instructions are adhered to.
Public events for more than 50 people have been able to take place indoors and in regionally limited outdoor areas in October, although the number of new cases of coronavirus infection has increased. Public events for more than 500 people cannot be held.
Restrictions on gatherings imposed by regional government agencies do not apply to private events. The government has recommended that no more than 50 private events be held. Gatherings of more than ten people during the spread phase are now not recommended.
The government issued recommendations related to adult hobbies.
If the epidemic is in an accelerating phase in the area, indoor high-risk group activities should be discontinued. Learning a language in a loose classroom is not a high-risk recreational activity in the same way as playing indoor football, for example.
During the spreading phase, all adult group activities should be discontinued.
The recommendations do not apply to children and young people during the acceleration phase. In the dissemination phase, for children and adolescents, the effects of activity restrictions must be considered.
In May, the public facilities were closed by a government decision and opened in June. Since then, it has been possible to continue hobby activities as long as safety recommendations such as hand hygiene and safety intervals have been taken into account. For example, more weekly patrols have been organized outdoors than usual.
Municipalities have also been able to keep swimming pools open at their own discretion. In swimming pools, there is a mask recommendation in public areas and dressing areas.
Educational institutions and jobs
Public sector employees now received a telework recommendation.
“Teleworking is recommended for all public administration employees. In addition, other security arrangements must be made, for example, to avoid close contacts, ”said Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero.
The government also decided that polytechnics and universities are recommended to switch to distance education if the epidemic situation in the region moves into an accelerating phase. The distance learning recommendation therefore applies to the Helsinki metropolitan area, among other things.
According to the Minister of Education Li Andersson, distance education will be transferred to secondary education if it is necessary according to the epidemic situation. Otherwise, the aim is to stay in contact teaching.
Primary schools and secondary schools switched to distance learning in March. In a survey by the Finnish High School Students’ Association (SLL), 60 per cent of respondents said that they found distance learning mentally difficult. Distance learning also made it difficult for many high school students to study, and many high school students did less well in distance learning than before.
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