Prime Minister Sanna Marin promised new measures against Covid-19 on Tuesday, as leaders in the Helsinki area appealed for businesses to make customers wear face masks in an effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus in the capital region.
The Finnish capital currently has 83 cases per 100,000 residents in the last fortnight, way above the national average.
At a press conference on Tuesday Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori said that the capital region had formed a coordination group to manage its Covid response.
On Tuesday its first recommendation was announced: business owners who meet customers indoors should require everyone involved to wear a face mask.
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Municipalities in the Helsinki region would work to temporarily close down bars where there were breaches of the rules, with stepped-up surveillance brought in to focus on establishments where risky situations kept on occurring.
The efforts are aimed at preventing further restrictions being brought in that affect all bars and restaurants in the region, by identifying where clusters are forming.
"If the approach is effective, it can lead, at best, to the removal of the need to introduce further restrictive measures that apply to all restaurants," the statement read.
The Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) said it would focus on curbing exposure of staff or patients to the virus.
"We will try to prevent all kinds of exposures to colleagues and patients via many different measures," said Markku Mäkijärvi of HUS.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Marin said on Twitter that she was hoping to deliver stepped-up measures to fight Covid in the near future.
"The coronavirus situation is worsening quickly in Finland as well," Marin tweeted. "STM (the ministry for social affairs and health) is preparing a broad range of measures for the government, so that the spread of the epidemic can be prevented. The issue will be brought to the government to debate as early as next week."
Speaking to the media outside Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Minister for Basic Services and Health Krista Kiuru said that the government will support efforts made by regional authorities aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
"Regional authorities must be able to take all key measures necessary to manage and prevent the epidemic on a regional basis. As the government, we are strongly committed to supporting the regions in this difficult task," Kiuru said.