Finland is moving from nothing to everything in recommending the use of face masks to protect the population from the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease.
At the end of May 2020, the Finnish health authorities still questioned the usefulness of the face masks and even went so far as to present publicly a report saying that they could be counterproductive.
This policy changed by mid August, when the government led by Sanna Marin rectified its decision and recommended its use in public transportation. Later on, this recommendation was also extended to interior spaces.
Now, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has taken a step forward, pushed by the recommendations of international organizations.
"From now on, the use of face masks is recommended for those aged 12 and over," the health agency said in a press release.
According to THL, "this is based on the recommendation issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to which everyone aged 12 or over should follow the principles of mask recommendations for adults."
THL recommends wearing a face mask in the whole country.
In the acceleration and community transmission phases, the mask recommendation applies to comprehensive schools from grade six upwards and to upper secondary and higher education institutions. In comprehensive schools, the recommendation will be implemented by grade, regardless of the age of individual pupils.
In the acceleration and community transmission phases, wearing a mask is also recommended for all work communities as well as in indoor facilities for recreational and voluntary activities, if several people work and stay in the same facility.
“Face masks are only one way of preventing the spread of coronavirus infections. In addition, it is of utmost importance that you maintain safe distances whenever possible, wash your hands, cough into your sleeve or a disposable tissue, and avoid touching your face,” says Chief Physician Emmi Sarvikivi from THL.