Finland reissues nationwide face mask recommendation amid rising Covid cases

Helsinki: The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has reissued nationwide recommendation on using face masks, as Covid-19 infection rates are rising in the country due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

The health authority recommends people use face masks in all public spaces as well as in public transport throughout the country, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a press release published by the THL.

The updated guidance applies to the entire Finnish population aged 12 and over, regardless of their vaccination status.

In the press release, THL director Mika Salminen said that wintertime increases the risk of infection. “The more infections there are in the population, the greater the risk. The risk of infection is also considerably higher indoors than outdoors.”

The recommendation does not apply to the health and social care, education, or early childhood education sectors, nor does it apply to work communities with separate recommendations, said the THL.

In August 2020, the THL issued its first face mask recommendation to citizens to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. As the infection rates decline and vaccination coverage rises in Finland, the health authority relaxed its recommendation to emphasize individuals’ own judgment at the end of September this year.

According to data released by the THL, Finland reported another 2,079 Covid-19 cases and eight deaths on Friday. To date, the country has recorded a total of 213,318 cases and 1,454 deaths. A total of 34 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in Finland.

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