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Finnish gov't not issuing specific face mask use guidelines

The government said it would review the matter if the coronavirus epidemic situation worsens in the country.

Nainen hengityssuojain kasvoillaan.
Woman wearing face mask. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Finland is not issuing specific recommendations on the use of face masks, the government announced on Wednesday evening.

Last week the government received a report from a working group it appointed, led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, stating that widespread use of face masks have little or no effect on reducing the spread of upper respiratory infections

The government said the use of face masks do not replace preventative measures such as social distancing and good hygiene in preventing the spread of coronavirus, noting that face masks do not protect wearers from infection, but others around them.

The government noted that face masks can be used to protect others from potential coronavirus infections when it is not possible to avoid close contact, such as on crowded public transport.

It said the epidemic situation is currently good in Finland, but if the situation changes the cabinet will reevaluate the use of face masks by the general public.

Earlier on Wednesday, a group of 59 Finnish experts and researchers urged the use of face masks to curb the spread of the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended it is not necessary for healthy people to wear masks. But, the agency said individuals who feel sick or have a cold, as well as those who care for at-risk individuals, should wear them when in public.

Border openings on the table

Meanwhile, the government also said it received and discussed a report on partially lifting international travel restrictions.

A decision will be made on the basis of the epidemiological situation in various countries, the government said, adding that it plans to resume discussion of that issue next week.

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