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Coronavirus FAQ

About the covid-19 coronavirusDo you suspect a coronavirus infection? Seek out testing.

Coronavirus vaccinations 

How and when to get the covid-19 vaccine in Helsinki?

Helsinki's coronavirus vaccination effort began on 28 December 2020, with the first jabs administered to health care staff who work with coronavirus patients. The vaccination of city residents is estimated to begin in February, once coronavirus workers, care workers and care home residents have been vaccinated. Elderly persons and those suffering from illnesses that increase the likelihood of contracting covid will be prioritised.

The vaccinations will be provided in the same way as seasonal influenza vaccinations in the autumn.

How will the vaccinations affect safety measures such as handwashing and mask use?

It is still important that everyone follow the recommended safety measures after vaccinations begin.

Do your part: Practice social distancing

Each of us can help to stop the spread of covid-19 by avoiding close contact with people outside our homes. When you go out in public, maintain a one to two-metre distance from others.

How long will the latest restrictions be valid?

The restrictions issued on 27 November 2020 will be in force until 31 January 2021. 

Are all municipal services closed? Does this include libraries?

All indoor sports facilities, cultural centres, museums and youth centres of the cities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area are closed for the time being. The operations of adult education centres have also been temporarily suspended and Korkeasaari Zoo is closed. Some indispensable services such as free mask distribution points for those in need are exceptions. Limited services is available at libraries, and most social and health care services are open. Daycare centres and primary schools have also not been closed.

What about activities and services provided by the private sector?

Private operators have been asked to adhere to the same restrictions issued on 27 November 2020.

What is meant by a public event? 

A public event refers to amusements, contests, performances and other comparable events that are open to the public but not considered to be public meetings. These also include events bound to an invitation or membership, unless the event can be considered private based on the number of participants, the quality of the event or other specific reasons. More information is available from the Regional State Administrative Agency.

Which public events have been affected?

The decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency concerns public events such as concerts, theatre performances and sports matches.

Can private events be arranged?

It is not recommended that people arrange private events, meetings or family gatherings. Close contacts should be limited to household members or relationships of a comparable permanence. Guests at funerals and memorials should be limited to a small group of close relatives. This recommendation is in force until 31 January 2021.

Are all recreational activities suspended? For children, too?

Indoor recreational activities are cancelled until 31 January 2021, including basic arts education. Adult education centres have also closed their doors. Outdoor recreational activities for people over 20 are suspended, with all existing bookings of outdoor facilities cancelled. Outdoor recreational activities for young people under 20 years of age can continue according to earlier bookings, but new time slots will not be granted. Young people will still be supported online and through mobile youth work. Remote activities will also be made available.

Do I have the coronavirus?

How to book a coronavirus test and what to do in quarantine 

Coping with the coronavirus pandemic as a community

I'm worried I've been exposed to coronavirus. What should I do?

Use the Coronavirus symptom checker to first assess your condition, if possible. 

If you cannot do the online assessment, call the City of Helsinki’s Coronavirus Helpline at tel. 09 310 10024 every day of the week from 8 am to 6 pm. At other times, call the national Medical Helpline at tel. 116 117

What kind of symptoms are associated with a coronavirus infection?

The symptoms are fever, cough, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, muscle pain, sore throat, a runny nose, shortness of breath and a loss of sense of smell and/or taste. Everyone with symptoms of a coronavirus infection is referred to a coronavirus test.
THL:Treatment of coronavirus and instructions for the infected

I've got flu symptoms. Could it be the coronavirus?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in the list above, seek out covid-19 testing.

I suspect I've contracted the coronavirus, what should I do?

Use the Coronavirus symptom checker to first assess your condition, if possible. 

If you cannot do the online assessment, ring the City of Helsinki's Coronavirus Helpline at tel. 09 310 10024,  open every day of the week from 8 am to 6 pm. At other times, call the Medical Helpline at tel. 116 117

The helplines will refer you to either a coronavirus test or to a corona health station.

Everyone with symptoms of a coronavirus infection is referred to a coronavirus test. These symtoms are fever, cough, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, muscle pain, sore throat, a runny nose, shortness of breath and a loss of sense of smell and/or taste.

What to do when your child becomes ill with a respiratory infection

Once guardians determine that a child has symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, the child may not go to school or daycare. A child should be brought to a test if a caregiver or health care professional concludes that the symptoms match those of a coronavirus infection.

Even if the symptoms are mild, it’s especially important to test a child immediately if they or a family member has been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus or the family has travelled abroad in the last 10 days.

If a child under school age has mild symptoms, the situation can be monitored for a couple of days at home. A child with symptoms may not attend early childhood education. If the symptoms continue, have the child tested for covid-19.

Please note: A coronavirus test is always necessary if a schoolchild or young person has coronavirus symptoms.
As a guardian, you can also act on behalf of a child under the age of 15 and book an appointment through the symptom assessment on Omaolo. You can also make an appointment by calling the Coronavirus Helpline  at tel. 09 310 10024 every day of the week 8–18.

Coronavirus testing in Helsinki

Instructions for guardians of children in daycare and school (pdf)

THL: Children and the coronavirus

In what kind of situation do I need to see a doctor?

People with pronounced breathing difficulties, a significantly prolonged fever and a greatly weakened general condition should see a doctor. If you experience any of these symptoms, ring the  City of Helsinki's Coronavirus Helpline at tel. 09 310 10024, which is open every day of the week from 8 am to 6 pm. At other times, call the Medical Helpline at tel. 116 117  

In the case of a life-threatening emergency, call 112

Where are coronavirus patients being treated in Helsinki?

All Helsinki residents with symptoms of covid-19 or a respiratory infection are referred to one of two corona health stations in Helsinki for a doctor's diagnosis. The coronavirus health stations are located in the central district of Laakso and the northern district of Malmi.

Patients with symptoms of a respiratory infection are not treated at any of the city's other health stations. This means it is safe to visit your regular local health station, if you have a medical issue. 

Before leaving your home, call the Coronavirus Helpline or the Medical Helpline (numbers above) for instructions over the telephone about what to do.

Customers of the corona health stations are treated according to the urgency of their medical condition. It is not possible to make an appointment.

In most cases, the infection passes within a week a week of home rest, without medical care. Symptoms can be eased with painkillers.

Laakso corona health station

Malmi corona health station

Can I still visit hospitals, senior centres or service centres?

Helsinki has entered a coronavirus spreading phase and the city's social and healthcare services have been forced to restrict patient and customer visits at many facilities. The restrictions are necessary to protect patients, residents and personnel from covid-19 infections.

Guidelines for visits to Helsinki hospitals

Friends and relatives may not visit patients in Helsinki hospitals between 4 December 2020 and 31 January 2021. The prohibition extends to outdoor visits as well. You can alway be in contact with a patient by phone. It is possible to visit patients who are in terminal care or have serious illnesses, however. Please arrange these visits with the hospital staff in advance.  

Instructions for making indoor visits to senior centres, service houses and nursing homes

Residents of senior centres and service centres may receive visits from relatives and loved ones once a day. We recommend that the visits are kept short, 15 minutes is a good target. One person is allowed to visit at a time. Outdoor visits are also possible and can last for 30 minutes. The maximum number of visitors for an outdoor visit is two. You must use a face mask outdoors as well, and maintain a safe distance of about two meters from others.

All visits must be agreed on in advance with the care facility personnel, and face masks must be used during the visits. You can only pay a visit when you are well. Safe distances and good hand hygiene must be ensured.

Will service centres for pensioners and the unemployed be open?

Helsinki's service centres will be closed until the end of February 2021. The restaurants of the service centres are closed to non-residents.

Will day activities for the elderly be continued?

Day activities for the elderly will be suspended from 7 December 2020 to 31 January 2021. Day activity clients will be contacted in person about the closures.

Does one have to wear a mask at the workplace?

As of 23 November, face mask usage is recommended at all workplaces in all situations in which employees share the same space with others. The mask recommendation is valid for all people who are not working remotely, even if safe distances are maintained at the workplace. If you work alone in a space, you do not need a face mask.

Can I be tested for the coronavirus? 

Finland has now introduced larger-scale coronavirus testing for the public. 
See more information about Coronavirus testing in Helsinki

How can I protect myself from a covid-19 coronavirus infection?

People can avoid a covid-19 coronavirus infection in the same way they protect themselves from other respiratory tract infections. Good hand hygiene is of primary importance. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Do not cough or sneeze into the air or your hand, use a tissue or do it into your sleeve.

Each of us can help to stop the spread of covid-19 by avoiding close contact with people outside our homes. When you go out in public, maintain a one to two-metre distance from others.

  • Wear a mask if you use public transport or are in a situation where you can't avoid close contact
  • Do not shake hands
  • Do not attend events with more than 10 participants
  • Work from home, if possible

Can I get the coronavirus from touching surfaces?  

Coronaviruses are primarily transmitted through close contact and respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. Normal cleaning agents can effectively kill the coronavirus on surfaces.

Can I get the coronavirus from someone who doesn't have symptoms?

It is possible for an infected person to infect others before they start to experience symptoms. It is unclear however how many of an effect this has had on the spread of the epidemic. The World Health Organisation reports that present data indicates that the majority of infections are caused by people who have symptoms.

How can the hearing-impaired access coronavirus services?

The hearing-impaired can contact services with the assistance of an interpreter. Find more information on Finland’s interpreter services on the website of the national benefits agency Kela.

Many health issues can also be resolved by using the City of Helsinki’s e-services to contact health care professionals.

A nationwide phone service providing information about the coronavirus via text message is also available at tel. 050 902 0163. This service is open every weekday from 8 am to 9 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 3 pm.

Which City of Helsinki employees are being tested for covid-19?

The City of Helsinki follows THL recommendations for testing, particularly in the case of workers who are critical to the operations of social services and healthcare (employees of hospitals, health care centres, senior homes, care services, assisted-living facilities and home care services). 

Covid-19 testing is also available to all City of Helsinki employees who show symptoms of a coronavirus infection or are suspected of having a coronavirus infection, in line with a diagnosis from an occupational health care professional.

Please contact the city's health care provider Occupational Health Helsinki for more information.  

Where can I find more information about the coronavirus? 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) monitors the domestic and global coronavirus situation, and provides instructions for preventing coronavirus infections. Read more on the THL website.

Latest updates on the covid-19 coronavirus from THL

Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus from THL

Travel restrictions and quarantine measures

Avoid non-essential travel abroad

The Finnish government has issued new border restrictions and travel recommendations, and continues to ask that all residents of the country avoid non-essential travel abroad. 

See the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for a list of the countries that are still subject to border control. If you are returning to Finland from one of these countries, you should self-isolate in quarantine-like conditions for 10 days before resuming contact with others.

THL: Travel and the coronavirus pandemic

Travel within the country is allowed, although people are encouraged to follow the safety guidelines

Can I go back to work if I have just returned from a trip abroad?

All people arriving in the country are required to self-isolate in quarantine-like conditions for a period of 10 days.

Passengers in Helsinki who experience symptoms of a respiratory infection after arrival should ring the Coronavirus Helpline at tel. 09 310 10024, which is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm. At other times, call the nationwide Medical Helpline at tel. 116 117.

Employees should make the necessary arrangements with their employers. 

What about children who have been travelling, can they go to daycare again?

Everyone arriving in Finland from abroad should self-isolate at home for 10 days before resuming contact with others.

Children can return to daycare if their parents' work is considered critical to society, but the children must absolutely be free of any symptoms. Contact with others should be avoided during isolation, so children should not visit playgrounds or parks during this time, even if they have returned to daycare.

If children develop symptoms within ten days of their return from a trip abroad, they must stay at home and self-isolate, and the family should consult the online Omaolo health service or seek out a coronavirus test.

Am I entitled to loss-of-income compensation due to a post-travel quarantine?

The Finnish government's recommendation to stay home for two weeks after foreign travel is not sufficient grounds for granting a sickness allowance, nor is an employer's recommendation or order to stay home from work.

According to the Communicable Diseases Act, the decision to put someone in quarantine can only be made by a physician specializing in infectious diseases from your municipality or hospital district, when the quarantine is seen to be of benefit in the situation.

In order to claim sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease from the state benefit agency Kela, you need a statement from the doctor responsible for infectious disease control in your municipality or hospital district ordering you to stay off work. Sickness leave also cannot be granted to a person without symptoms.

Can the voluntary quarantine be shortened?

You can shorten a voluntary quarantine by taking two voluntary tests. If both tests are negative you can end the voluntary quarantine.

If you have a negative coronavirus test certificate that is no more than 72 hours old at the time of your arrival in Finland, do not take another coronavirus test until at least 72 hours after your arrival. If the first test is done in Finland, take the second test at the earliest 72 hours after the first one.

You will not need to self-quarantine if you have a medical certificate stating that you had COVID-19 less than 6 months ago.

If the person has a negative coronavirus test certificate that is less than 72 hours old at the time of arrival in Finland and will stay in the country for less than 72 hours, a second test and voluntary quarantine are not required.

How can I be tested if I arrive to Helsinki by boat?

When you arrive to Länsisatama or the harbours of Katajanokka or Vuosaari, you can get a referral for a coronavirus test through the health counselling in the harbour. The professionals at the health counselling are also happy to help you with other matters relating to the coronavirus.

In Länsisatama the health counselling is located in the arrival hall on the 3rd floor in the T2-terminal. There is no counselling in terminal 1. In Katajanokka the health counselling is located in the arrival hall on the 2nd floor. In Vuosaari the counselling is locate on the car lane.

If you have a foreign social security number you can book a test appointment in Helsinki on after you arrive in Finland. The service does not yet work with a Finnish social security number. In Helsinki you can also arrange a test by calling the Coronavirus helpline, tel. 09 310 10024, (weekdays 8–15). Only citizens of Finland can book test appointments through the Coronavirus helpline.

When waiting for the test results, stay in voluntary quarantine at home or in your accommodation.

How can I be tested if I arrive to Helsinki by plane?

Flight passengers arriving to Finland can be tested at Helsinki Airport. You can also arrange a test at or by calling Helsinki’s Coronavirus helpline (see previous answer).

I’m travelling abroad, can I get a certificate to prove I have a negative coronavirus test result?

The public sector only tests people with symptoms. You should not travel abroad if you have symptoms.

How many infections are there among different language groups?

Currently, one third of all new infections occur in persons whose mother tongue is other than Finnish or Swedish. The proportion of Helsinki residents whose mother tongue is not Finnish or Swedish is 16–17 per cent.

The abovementioned third includes native speakers of 61 different languages. Minority communities that have the highest incidence proportionately, i.e. speakers of Somali, Russian, Arabic, English and Kurdish, make up approximately 19 per cent of total infections.

What does it mean to be under quarantine?

See also Quarantine and isolation information from the THL website

Daycare  FAQ

Day care centres and pre-primary education for six years olds are open normally, with staff making adjustments to maintain social distancing and good hygiene.

Do I need to wear a face mask at my child's daycare? 

Yes, according to the latest recommendations. Everyone is asked to wear a mask when droping off and picking up children at Helsinki's daycare centres and pre-primary education. Guardians and visitors should also avoid staying inside daycare spaces unless necessary. Daycare and pre-primary education personnel are also asked to wear a mask when indoors, if possible. Staff face mask usage ensures the sufficiency of personnel, as the masks help to reduce the number of employees quarantined due to exposure. This is a recommendation, and employees are free to decide for themselves on face mask usage.

Who will take care of my children or parents if I become ill with coronavirus?

Helsinki has many social service professionals available to help people in these kinds of situations. Please do not hesitate to call tel. 09 3101 5454 on weekdays from 9 am to 12 pm with even the most minor questions or concerns. Social workers will help you find help, so you can get some rest and recover. Another way to get help is to click on the ‘Need Help?’ icon at the City of Helsinki Family Support website.

If you need  help finding the appropriate service or support, or need assistance filling out applications, use the city’s social worker chat service or call tel. 09 310 44400 between 9 am and 4 pm every weekday. 

School arrangements FAQ

Which levels of education have moved to distance learning?

Upper secondary schools (general upper secondary schools and vocational education) have transferred to distance learning until 10 January 2020. Comprehensive schools (grades 1-9) and early childhood education (daycare and pre-primary education for six years olds) is still open, as the intention is to keep these important services open as long as possible with maximum possible consideration for everyone's health and safety. Students in lower secondary schools (grades 7-9) have been asked to wear masks at school. All municipal schools and daycares observe THL guidelines for protecting the children from coronavirus transmission.

Any changes related to teaching arrangements are announced via the Wilma platform, so please check your Wilma messages regularly. 

The City of Helsinki has also re-opened its Education Helpline to answer questions about schools, students and study arrangements. Service is available in Finnish and English. Ring tel. 09 310 10025 Monday-Friday 9-17. .

No one is allowed to come to school with symptoms of a potential coronavirus infection. Typical covid-19 symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, muscle pain, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, shortness of breath, and loss of the sense of smell or taste. If you have any of these symptoms, you must get tested and wait for the test results at home.

Support for businesses

Does the City of Helsinki help struggling businesses? 

The City of Helsinki's business advisory service NewCo Helsinki offers remote business counselling during the coronavirus crisis. The service is free of charge and open to everyone. If you wish to book a 45-minute session, call 09 310 36360 between 11 am and 1 pm on weekdays. 

New Co Helsinki has also compiled a list of  helpful links and information about other groups and organisations that are providing advice and assistance to struggling businesses on its website.

Links to more information

The City of Helsinki publishes regular Coronavirus updates in English on its website.

The City of Helsinki's Helsinki-info phone service is also available on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm (3 pm on Fridays) at tel. 09 310 11111 or via a chat service to answer any questions you might have.

InfoFinland is also a comprehensive source of helpful information in 12 languages on Finland. The InfoFinland website has compiled a handy list of links to important coronavirus information from several public authorities. 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) monitors the domestic and global coronavirus situation, and provides instructions for preventing coronavirus infections. Read more on the THL website.

Latest updates on the covid-19 coronavirus from THL

Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus from THL

14.01.2021 14:04