The number of COVID-19 infections in the Helsinki metropolitan area, which returned to the spreading phase of the coronavirus epidemic at the beginning of the month, has been increasing in recent weeks, and the need for hospital care has also risen slightly. Today, the metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group did not outline new restrictions, but due to the decisions of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland, changes in services will take place soon.
The cities and the coronavirus coordination group of the Helsinki metropolitan area are monitoring the impact of the latest restrictions on the epidemic situation. Restaurant restrictions have recently been tightened in the area and the Regional State Administrative Agency is severely restricting the organization of public events. In addition, the requirement to allow a safe distance of two metres from others in all customer premises will come into force from 20 August onwards.
There have been no changes to the services of the City of Helsinki or its subsidiaries, which opened or expanded in Helsinki in June. Museums, cultural centres, youth centres, libraries and sports facilities, such as swimming pools and other indoor sports facilities, are open according to their normal opening hours.
However, from 20 August onwards, a maximum of 25 people can take part in public events indoors and a maximum of 50 people in regionally delimited outdoor spaces. Indoor and outdoor limits may be deviated from by means of differentiation arrangements, i.e. by arranging sections for the public.
Only half of the normal number of customers can be admitted for the voluntary exercise use of indoor sports venues. In the case of booked turns and guided activities, the number of participants must be limited in such a way that participants have the opportunity to avoid close contacts.
In the Social services and health care division, on the other hand, the day-to-day activities of senior centres remain closed for the time being.
Health and safety guidelines and site-specific restrictions apply in customer service facilities. Restrictions may concern, for example, the maximum number of customers allowed and their monitoring, the flow of customers or their placement in the premises. All services will take care that coronavirus safety guidelines are followed, i.e. make it possible to maintain a safe distance from others and take care of hand hygiene.
Studies start as contact teaching - vaccinations for 12–15-year-olds are underway in comprehensive schools
Studies for the autumn terms in Helsinki's comprehensive schools and secondary schools have begun with contact teaching. Strong efforts have been made to ensure health safety and lessons learned during the epidemic have been utilised.
Student care services, such as school welfare officers and psychologists are available to children and young people at all times, including during possible distance learning periods. In addition, the morning and afternoon activities for schoolchildren will also start in August.
On 5 August, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced that COVID-19 vaccinations would be extended to children and young people aged 12-15. Helsinki has started the vaccinations of this group in schools. Booster shots will also be administered at the schools after 8–12 weeks. Vaccinations will begin in Finnish-language comprehensive schools today, August 12, and in Swedish comprehensive schools, vaccinations will start on August 17. There is no need to book an appointment for vaccinations in schools. Vaccinations may also be received at general vaccination sites.
Vaccinations will start at different times in different schools. The principals will use Wilma to inform about the timing of the vaccinations and the arrangements for the guardians before the times of the vaccinations. If a child or young person is not in school at the time of vaccination, they can be vaccinated at the general vaccination points. Vaccinations are given by the school nurse, together with the health care staff.
Those 15-year-olds who are already in upper secondary school or vocational school can book their first vaccination and also the booster vaccination at a general vaccination point. Students are not vaccinated in upper secondary schools and vocational schools. If the guardian wants to be involved in the vaccination of the child, they should book an appointment at a vaccination point.
Photo: Virpi Peltola, City of Helsinki