Kirsi Varhila, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, said that Finns should continue to avoid domestic as well as international travel. “The risk of getting seriously ill in Finland from COVID-19 has not disappeared,” she said.
However, national broadcaster Yle reported that the government plans to cancel the recommendation against unnecessary domestic travel.
Commenting on Finland‘s current policy of not making the use of face masks mandatory, Varhila said that while many European countries have introduced strict rules, Finland is “not alone in northern Europe” without general enforcement.
She gave the low density of the population as one reason. She said the ministry is still working on a survey on whether the wearing of face masks should be made mandatory. The results would then be evaluated by the government.
Mika Salminen, director at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), commented on a Finnish computer animation research report from Aalto University and Helsinki University that COVID-19 spreads faster through the air as aerosol than previously thought.
Meanwhile, the government’s plan to allow restaurants to reopen next Monday after nearly two months of closure has for now been blocked in parliament. The government has argued for a nationwide reopening, on condition that alcohol sales end at 10 p.m. and that bars and restaurants halve their seating capacity.
However, some members of parliament want the new rules to be implemented incrementally across different parts of the country, arguing that the rules should be relaxed in areas with few or no new cases.
According to THL, as of Thursday afternoon, Finland had confirmed 6,743 COVID-19 cases, of which 51 cases were new. The death toll reached 313, unchanged from the previous day. According to a preliminary estimate, at least 5,500 people have recovered from the disease.