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Majority against obligatory face mask use in Finland, survey finds

Nearly half of respondents said the decision to wear masks should be left up to the discretion of each citizen.

Woman wearing face mask in Helsinki. Image: Mikko Ahmajärvi / Yle

Most people in Finland do not want face mask use to be obligatory, according to an Yle-commissioned opinion survey.

One-third of respondents supported a policy of recommending mask use in public places, but not making them compulsory

Meanwhile only 10 percent of those queried said they supported the obligatory use of such personal protective devices in shops and on public transport.

Almost one-half of respondents (47 percent) said that the decision to use face masks should be left to the individual.

Some countries around Europe and the rest of the world have made the use of face masks in public places obligatory, including Germany, Italy, Austria and Poland. At the moment, no such regulations are in place in Finland.

However, the Finnish government has asked a working group to draw up a report on mask usage, but has not yet said people should use them in public transport or elsewhere.

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has tested the efficacy of various types of face masks and found that while they do not protect the wearer from the risk of infection, their use can reduce the risk of infecting others.

The survey was carried out via an online panel from 8-11 May by polling firm Taloustutkimus, and garnered responses from just over 2,100 people from a range of ages, genders and regions which were representative of the entire country, according to the company.