In addition to the national level, the coronavirus situation in Finland is monitored region by region. On the basis of regional incidence, recommendations are made region-specifically so that they can be related to the number of infections and the prevalence of the disease.
Regional coordination group
A regional coordination group will operate in Kymenlaakso to organise the regional government work required by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and to coordinate the measures. The group monitors the regional epidemic situation and the need for recommendations and restrictions aimed at containing the epidemic in Kymenlaakso.
The group meets weekly and includes representation of the municipalities of Kymsote and Kymenlaakso (Hamina, Kotka, Kouvola, Miehikkälä, Pyhtää and Virolahti), as well as representation of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (ESAVI), the southeast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Southeast Finland Border Guard District, the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard, and the Finnish Customs. The group is chaired by chief medical officer Marja-Liisa Mäntymaa of Kymsote.
The epidemic situation in Kymenlaakso
The coronavirus situation in Kymenlaakso on 24 March 2021 is in the community transmission phase throughout the region.
Existing regional restrictions and recommendations
Regional restrictions and recommendations in Kymenlaakso will be updated according to the situation, so it is advisable to follow them regularly. Kymsote’s restrictions and recommendations apply throughout Kymenlaakso.
Recommendations and limitations
The following restrictions apply until 18 April 2021, unless otherwise stated.
Recommendations for wearing a face mask for children over 12 years of age:
Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended in Kymenlaakso for:
- Public transport and taxis, for both drivers and passengers
- Public spaces and events
- Private service providers (shops, banks, etc.)
- Secondary schools, higher education institutions and liberal cultural institutions for students and staff
- In comprehensive schools, students from the sixth grade up should wear a mask. The mask recommendation is imposed by grade, regardless of the age of the individual students.
- Hobby activities
- Workplaces where safety distances, shift alternations on premises or other hygiene and safety arrangements cannot be implemented
- Social welfare and healthcare staff in all contact situations
In addition, protection (mask or visor) is strongly recommended for primary and early childhood education staff.
Remote work recommendation and use of masks in workplaces
- It is recommended that employers arrange remote working for all work where this is temporarily possible.
- If remote working is not possible, it is recommended that the employer provide staff with instructions to use face masks in all workspaces.
- The use of masks is recommended in workplaces for everyone, especially if a safety distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. It is also recommended to wear a mask when employees can maintain a safety distance from each other. If an employee is working alone in a workspace, a mask is not needed.
- Workplace meals and coffee breaks should be staggered.
Elderly and at-risk groups
Older people and at-risk groups should be taken into account with particular care and protected from coronavirus infection.
- Visits to patients in Kymenlaakso Central Hospital, Northern Kymi Central Hospital, Hamina and Karhula hospitals and the rehabilitation unit in Hoiku are prohibited until 31 Mars 2021. The prohibition does not apply to Kymenlaakso Psychiatric Hospital, the palliative care units Villa Apila and Villa Meri, the children’s ward or childbirth support staff. In these cases, visits are permitted in accordance with separate instructions. Visits by close relatives of dying and critically ill patients are also allowed in a manner agreed upon with the staff of the care unit in question.
Visits to residential units
- Meetings are always arranged in advance with the unit staff.
- Only healthy persons are allowed to visit close relatives. The meetings will be arranged either outdoors or indoors.
- Close contact, such as shaking hands or hugging, should be avoided.
- A mouth and nose guard must be worn throughout the meeting.
- A safety distance of 2 metres should be maintained throughout the meeting.
- Staff will provide instructions on hand hygiene, the use of mouth and nose protectors and other necessary practices. The aim is patient safety and the occupational safety of personnel. Persons wearing mouth and nose guards protect their close relatives from coronavirus infection.
- Personal assistants are comparable to employees, and protect themselves in accordance with the staff instructions when providing assistance.
Organisation of teaching
- It is recommended that grades 7–9 go back to contact teaching at school from 29 March onwards.
- Students in grades 6–9 are strongly advised to wear a mask during the school day and on school transportation.
- In the upper secondary level (general upper secondary schools and vocational education), contact teaching can be arranged, complying with safety arrangements.
- The number of students participating in contact teaching at each time should be considered individually for each municipality and school, making sure that health considerations can be taken into account.
- Students attending contact teaching are strongly advised to wear a mask.
- Special attention must be paid to the safe arrangement of mealtimes.
- In general upper secondary schools, remote learning should be given priority during the matriculation examination period.
- Remote learning should be continued at higher education institutions. Absolutely necessary face-to-face teaching can be carried out, following protection instructions.
- The recommendation has been made to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland that it decide to prohibit all public events and meetings for more than six people indoors and outdoors until 30 April 2021.
Private and family events
- It is recommended that private or family celebrations involving more than 6 people are not held, and it is also recommended that such events should be avoided.
- Sports and indoor sports facilities in towns and municipalities will be closed. Closure of private exercise and sports facilities is recommended.
- Events in cities cultural spaces and libraries are cancelled.
- Library recreation facilities, such as newspaper rooms, will be closed. Library lending and return activities will continue with a maximum stay of 15 minutes per visit to the library. Mobile libraries are suspended.
- Museums can be open by limiting the amount of visitors so that the satedy distance (2 meters) can actually be implemented.
- Youth facilities will be closed to the public in general, but allowing 1–6 graders to engage in group activities.
- It is recommended that recreation facilities of shopping centres be closed.
- Closure of indoor playgrounds and indoor play areas is recommended.
- It is recommended that the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland make a decision that will be in force until 30 April 2021 on the implementation of the temporary section 58d of the Communicable Diseases Act. The provision stipulates the obligation to organise the use of facilities open to the public or for a limited group of customers or participants in such a way that it is effectively possible for the customers, participants and groups to avoid close contact with each other.
Food and beverage service establishments
- The government makes decisions on restrictions on the opening hours of food and beverage service establishments, serving times and numbers of seats.
Group hobby activities
- It is recommended that group hobbies for adults and young people (high school and older) be discontinued in all cases (excluding professional and elite sports as previously defined). Where possible, hobby activities should be carried out remotely.
- It is recommended that recreational activities for children in grades 1–6 and younger be continued in groups of up to ten people both indoors and outdoors in such a way that allows them to effectively keep a safe distance from one another.
- Games and competitions (excluding professional and elite sports as previously defined) will be discontinued for all ages. It is recommended to avoid competition and game trips to other provinces.
Traveling to other parts of Finland or abroad
- It is recommended that all unnessesary travel be avoided.
- Every entrant is required to take the coronatest unless the person has to provide a reliable statement that exempts from the test. The entrant’s coronatest is mainly organized at the border crossing point.
- A 14-day voluntary quarantine is recommended for all passengers arriving in Kymenlaakso.
- Travelling in Finland should also be considered carefully. All safety instructions must be followed: taking care of good hand hygiene, safety distances (2 meters) and using of the mask.