The metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group informing in Helsinki City Hall.

Metropolitan area prepared for possible surge in epidemic

In its briefing on 13 November, the metropolitan area’s coronavirus coordination group reported of the epidemic situation and forecast, as well as of the cooperation and preparedness for curbing the epidemic. In addition, the group issued a recommendation to avoid private events of more than 10 persons until further notice. The earlier recommendation concerned events of more than 20 persons.

The most important valid restrictions and recommendations were reiterated in the briefing.

In last week’s meeting, the coronavirus coordination group introduced a face mask usage recommendation for the entire personnel of comprehensive schools. The recommendation was published on 9 November, and it concerns teachers and other school staff in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. Today, a further recommendation concerning private events was published, reducing the group size limit from 20 to 10. The recommendation concerns, for example, student events, graduation parties in the autumn and Christmas festivities. The group is also preparing a face mask usage recommendation for the early childhood education personnel.

The coronavirus epidemic in the metropolitan area has been fairly stable in the last few weeks. However, the last few weeks have seen signs of an accelerating epidemic regardless of the valid measures. Therefore, the area’s coronavirus coordination group has prepared new recommendations and measures, which can be deployed quickly and immediately if the epidemic situation so requires. This means that new measures might already be introduced in the current acceleration phase of the epidemic, already before the possible spreading phase.

Measures effective in public transport, leisure activity facilities, cultural services and schools

The use of face masks has significantly increased in the area’s public transport. According to monitoring performed by Helsinki Region Transport HSL, usage activity depends on the time of day, with more masks used during rush hours. Last week, an average of 54 per cent of the observed customers wore a mask. 

According to monitoring performed by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the Finnish Railways (VR) and Helsinki Region Transport, the number of confirmed infection cases traced to public transport vehicles is still zero. To preserve this situation, the current very strong recommendation to use face masks in public transport remains valid.

How do the restrictions function in practice? – See example cases on video

The below videos present the effects of coronavirus restrictions and recommendations in public transport, leisure activity facilities, cultural services and schools.

Public transport

Leisure activities: Liikuntamylly and coaching activity by Helsingin Kisa-Veikot as examples

Cultural services: Iso Omena library in Espoo as an example

Schools: Sotunki Upper Secondary School in Vantaa as an example

The metropolitan area coronavirus coordination group prepares local decision-making

The Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland established a regional metropolitan area coronavirus coordination group on 10 September 2020. The group applies the regional operating model of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and its aim is to strengthen the formation of a common situational picture and to coordinate and prepare regional and local measures.

Consisting of top-level executives and administrators, the group uses the shared situational picture to prepare and coordinate decision-making. The final decisions are made by the respective operators within the limits of their authority. The group will further intensify collaboration in the metropolitan area, which has been going on during the entire coronavirus crisis. 

The City of Helsinki is responsible for organising the group’s operations.

Additional information

Photo: Heikki Nummi

Together against the coronavirus.