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Call to skip graduation, Independence Day parties in Finland's capital region

An expert group urges people to avoid large seasonal festivities in favour of smaller intimate gatherings with family.

Ylioppilaiden lakitustilaisuus.
Leaders of capital region cities are reminding residents to keep gatherings to a maximum of 10 people. Image: Kaisa Siren / AOP

A capital region coronavirus working group wants residents to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people this autumn. The recommendation came during a press conference by the committee on Friday.

"This recommendation refers to graduation parties, Independence Day celebrations, pre-Christmas gatherings and other Christmastime events. It is clear that it is safest to celebrate in very small groups and preferably with family members," Vantaa mayor Ritva Viljanen said at the press briefing.

The capital region coordinating committee also shared the latest coronavirus figures and forecasts and discussed measures to control the epidemic.

At a press conference on Thursday Viljanen said that the team has recommended that primary education staff should wear masks at work. That directive took effect on Wednesday.

"A mask recommendation for early education is also being prepared for the capital region," Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori said on Friday.

Nearly three percent of samples positive

Meanwhile Markku Mäkijärvi, medical director of the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS), outlined the state of the epidemic in the region. He said that the number of infections in southern Finland’s Uusimaa region had increased after a relatively quiet summer.

"After less than half a percent of samples tested positive during early autumn, [the proportion] has risen to around three percent in recent weeks," he noted.

During the spring testing capacity in Finland was limited, however, Mäkijärvi said that the situation has been addressed. He added that it is now easy to get tested and results come back quickly.

He pointed out that people should get tested even if they are experiencing only mild symptoms.

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