Three large Finnish cities take a step forward in the fight against coronavirus by expanding the daily use of masks.
Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo, where the vast majority of Finland's population of foreign origin lives, have recommended in a joint statement the use of face masks for all residents over 15 years of age when using public services.
Said recommendation would apply, for example, to public libraries and sports facilities, museums, high schools and vocational schools, as well as municipal offices, especially when keeping the safety distance is not possible.
"We hope that people in the metropolitan area will take the expanded mask recommendation seriously and follow it unless there is a health reason not to use the mask," the mayors of Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo said in the statement they jointly signed.
The Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS) also recommended wearing face masks in secondary schools in the metropolitan area. The recommendation can be implemented immediately, but no later than Thursday 1 October 2020, HUS says.
According to the local councilors, if all citizens comply with safety recommendations, it may not be necessary to introduce tougher restrictions, for example the earlier closure of bars and restaurants and the shift of schools to remote learning.
Municipal employees, like teachers, will receive free masks free or charge to carry out their work, but students will have to buy them themselves. However, students from low-income families have the opportunity to pick up masks from the mask distribution points organized by municipalities.
This recommendation is the result of the latest analysis of the epidemiological situation carried out by the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS), which has warned that the coronavirus epidemic has entered an acceleration phase in the metropolitan area.