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Kirsi Varhila, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, reacted at a news conference in Helsinki on Thursday, 6 August 2020. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE QUARANTINE INSTRUCTIONS provided to people who have been exposed to the new coronavirus will be tightened as authorities continue to prepare for a possible second wave of the epidemic in Finland, reveals Kirsi Varhila, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Varhila on Thursday outlined in a press conference that the instructions will be updated to make sure people exposed to the virus really stay at home until their test results come back.

The instructions will apparently be updated in conjunction with the launch of the contact-tracing app designed to facilitate the efforts of health care authorities to identify and break chains of transmission. The intention is that all app users who are issued a warning of possible exposure will be tested for the virus.

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The children of families who have returned from abroad, for example, will be advised not to come to school until completing the quarantine. “That’s when you should refrain also from going to school,” said Varhila.

Finland will also seek to increase the daily testing capacity from around 13,000 to 20,000.

Varhila confirmed that the much-discussed recommendation on face coverings will “surely” be issued but declined to specify when, saying only that it can be issued prior to the possible second wave of infections. The recommendation, she indicated, will be issued on a region-by-region basis to reflect the epidemiological situation in each region.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on Thursday also issued a strong recommendation that employers allow their employees to continue working remotely to the greatest extent possible to prevent the virus from spreading at workplaces.

“If possible, it’s our hope that people continue to work remotely,” Varhila said, adding that employers should take every precaution to make sure the employees who have to return to workplace can do so as safely as possible.

Varhila also stated that the government will surely consider reinstating some of the newly relaxed restrictions on public events and on restaurant operations as of September. The government announced yesterday it will re-introduce travel restrictions for Andorra, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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