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Helsinki to set up new Covid-19 testing points as city gets busier after summer

Helsinki region mayors ask for mask recommendation

Jan Vapaavuori
Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori said it is important that a mask recommendation is prepared quickly Image: Hilma Toivonen / Yle

New coronavirus testing points will be set up in the city, Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori announced on Thursday. The move is part of a raft of measures being taken to deal with the coronavirus situation in the capital.

"Although the situation is well under control in Helsinki and Finland, we need to be mentally prepared for the situation to worsen quickly," Vapaavuori said.

The new testing points will be introduced in Helsinki's West Harbor and downtown areas.

Coronavirus information and testing points have been particularly congested in Helsinki lately. As of now, coronavirus clinic in Laakso health centre will be exceptionally kept open over weekends as well.

The mayor said that particular care must be taken to be prepared considering residents are returning to workplaces and schools after the holidays.

"The use of public transport is increasing and more people are gathering in indoor spaces with the end of telecommuting recommendations," Vapaavuori said.

According to the mayor, younger people don’t always seem to remember that the pandemic has not gone away.

On Thursday, 12 new coronavirus infections were diagnosed in Uusimaa — six in Espoo, three in Helsinki, two in Kirkkonummi and one in Vantaa. Across Finland, 20 new infections were detected.

Helsinki region mayors in favour of masks

The mayors of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, as well as the management of Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) and Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) met on Thursday and took a stance in favour of a clear mask recommendation in a press release.

"In addition to basic measures such as safe distancing, hand hygiene and voluntary quarantine practices, we consider it important that a mask recommendation is prepared quickly, " Vapaavuori in the release.

The key players in the Greater Helsinki region stated they are waiting for a national policy on the matter, after which they will evaluate their own follow-up actions and guidelines.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has not yet issued a recommendation on the use of face masks. On Thursday a ministry official stated that the authorities are still considering when a mask recommendation would take effect and whether it would be national or regional.

This week Yle News' All Points North delved into the background for the proposed mask recommendations and what they could possibly contain.

You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here, Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed. Be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts and sign up for the APN newsletter.

Audio: Yle News

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