Kymenlaakso recommendations

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 5 January 2021 is in the spreading stage 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. New restrictions and recommendations were issued on 1 December 2020.

Limitations

The following restrictions apply until 31 January 2021, unless otherwise stated.

Public events

  • By decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland, all public events and general meetings of more than 10 people are prohibited until 31 January 2021.
  • For events for up to 10 people, only absolutely necessary gatherings, such as statutory and stated meetings of companies and associations, should be held. Meetings should be held remotely whenever possible.

Public spaces

  • 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.
  • The number of visitors to museums is limited to 10 people at a time.
  • Youth centres will be closed and youth services will be transferred online. Individual essential customer interactions are possible indoors by upholding safety distances and wearing masks.

  • It is recommended that recreation facilities of shopping centres be closed.

  • Closure of indoor playgrounds and indoor play areas is recommended.

Organisation of teaching

  • Upper secondary schools, vocational colleges and institutes of higher education will move to remote education, enabling essential face-to-face education, such as competence tests and essential practical training, in accordance with the protection guidelines.
  • With regard to secondary secondary education, the municipalities are recommended to continue distance education at this stage until 31 January 2021.

Group hobby activities

  • In all cases, it is recommended that group activities for adults and adolescents over the age of 15 be suspended. Where possible, hobby activities should be carried out remotely.
  • Children’s and young people’s hobbies can be continued outdoors. From 11 January 2021, hobby activities for children under the age of 15 can also be carried out indoors, when the number of people does not exceed 10 and the safety and hygiene instructions are strictly followed.
  • Training activities for professional and competitive sports will be safeguarded in such a way that the restrictions on gatherings must be respected. It is recommended that all matches and games in team sports be suspended.

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 from 31 December 2020 to 31 January 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.

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.

Recommendations

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
  • 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.

Traveling to other parts of Finland or abroad

  • It is recommended that travel be avoided to all areas where the coronavirus situation is more severe than in Kymenlaakso, such as Uusimaa, Päijät-Häme and North Ostrobothnia. Similarly, travel to ski resorts in northern Finland and abroad should be avoided. This also applies to the mobility of dual nationals between Russia and Finland.

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.

Private and family events

  • It is recommended that private or family celebrations involving more than 10 people are not held, and it is also recommended that such events should be avoided.