The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group proposes that, as a general rule, COVID-19 testing should not apply to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic fully vaccinated persons who have received a second vaccine at least one week earlier, nor to those who have had a confirmed coronavirus infection in the previous six months and received one vaccine.
However, the change would not apply to people known to have been exposed to the coronavirus, social and health care workers working with clients and care and treatment units for the elderly, for example.
It is necessary to have a more precise policy on the targeting of the testing for the entire Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa before its implementation.
Guidelines for recreational activities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area updated
Following the removal of the two-metre safe distance requirement and the new guidelines for recreational activities issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group updated its guidelines for recreational activities.
As a rule, recreational and competitive activities for all ages are possible indoors and outdoors. Recreational activities on municipal premises are subject to specific health and safety guidelines, violations of which may lead to the cancellation of facility reservations or the suspension of the activities. According to the guidelines, exercises and activities should be carried out indoors in such a way that close contact can be avoided or significantly reduced. If necessary, the size of the group should be reduced to a smaller size than normal.
The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group noted that the composition of a recreational group does not have to be fixed and based on pre-registration. The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group’s decision-making is based on the principle of “children and young people first” and this policy aims to ensure that low-threshold sports activities, such as school sports clubs and youth groups, can take place.
The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group strongly recommends that instructors and children over 12 continue to wear face masks indoors, unless health reasons strictly prevent it. A face mask does not need to be worn during an exercise performance. Parents and escorts should not linger in the recreation and changing rooms. The names of those present at recreational activities are recorded at each session.
This policy applies to all city-managed facilities. It is recommended that private operators follow this policy as well.
The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group prepares local decision-making
The Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland established the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group on 10 September 2020. In line with a regional operating model devised by Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the group aims to strengthen the formation of a common situational assessment and to coordinate and prepare local and regional measures.
The group consists of top management from each member organisation and is responsible for the preparation and coordination of decision-making based on a shared assessment of the situation. Each member makes decisions independently, within its own sphere of authority. The group further intensifies the close metropolitan area collaboration that has continued throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The City of Helsinki is responsible for organising the group’s operations.
In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen also follows the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.
Photo: Virpi Velin