People wearing masks in Mall of Tripla in Helsinki on 25 September 2020. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) has updated its mask recommendation, saying everyone over 12 years old should wear a mask in settings such as public transport where avoiding close contact with others is impossible.

The update aligns with a recommendation issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2020.

WHO and UNICEF advise that children aged 12 years and older should wear a mask “under the same conditions as adults”, especially when they cannot guarantee at least a one-metre distance from others in areas with widespread transmission.

THL on Friday said it is presently recommending that people in all parts of the country wear face masks.

In areas where the epidemic is in the acceleration or spreading stage, mask use is recommended also for pupils starting from year six of basic education, students in upper-secondary education and students in higher education. It is also recommended in all work communities and indoor leisure and voluntary activities if the same space is used and shared by more than one people.

“Face masks are one way to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. It is also of utmost importance to maintain safe distances to others whenever possible, wash hands, cough into the elbow or a disposable tissue and avoid touching the face,” stated Emmi Sarvikivi, a chief physician at THL.

“Anyone with symptoms should refrain from going to work or school but should avoid social contact and take a coronavirus test without delay,” she added.

THL on Friday reported that the number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections has risen by 296 to 38,068 in Finland. The number of deaths caused by the virus, in turn, crept up by two to 586.

Almost 2,560,000 samples to date have been tested for the virus, representing an increase of 28,500 from Thursday.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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