On 2 October, the regional working group for coronavirus prevention led by the Hospital District of Southwest Finland decided in their meeting to issue new recommendations for Southwest Finland, as the coronavirus epidemic is accelerating in Turku, Raisio, Kaarina and Lieto.

For this reason, a general recommendation to use a mask came into force in institutions of upper secondary education in Turku (vocational institutions and upper secondary schools) on Saturday 3 October. The recommendation will remain in force for the time being.

In principle, students should purchase their own masks. However, the City of Turku will make sure that people in the most vulnerable position have masks available to them in all situations free of charge.

The City of Turku provided masks for teaching staff in upper secondary education for Monday 5 October. Protective plexiglass was installed in City of Turku customer service facilities already last spring and staff have masks and visors at their use.

Masks recommended in public transport in Turku since August

In accordance with recommendations of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the recommen-dation to use a mask applies not only in educational institutions but also in public transport, in public spaces indoors and in public events. Masks should be used when it is not possible to avoid close contacts.

The City of Turku has recommended using a mask in public transport since August.

Turku has also distributed cloth face masks free of charge for the economically disadvantaged since August. Initially, diaconal workers and organisations responsible for food aid distributed masks for their customers. In September, the distribution of masks was extended e.g. to low-income families with children. Masks have been distributed by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare and parishes.

The recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on the use of face masks

The use of face masks is recommended in the following settings and for the following persons:

•    In public transport where close contacts cannot always be avoided.
•    Persons travelling to a COVID-19 testing facility and awaiting the test results, if it is necessary for them to move outside the home.
•    Passengers arriving in Finland from a high-risk area while moving from the point of entry to the place of quarantine or if it is necessary to move outside the home during the quarantine. 
•    In secondary schools (including general upper secondary schools) and higher education institu-tions.
•    In public spaces and events where close contacts cannot always be avoided.

Recommendation on face masks (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare) 

According to the Government's action plan to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus, in the acceleration phase, the regional incidence rate of the coronavirus is approximately 10–25 cases per 100,000 in 14 days. In the acceleration phase, local and regional chains of infection can be identified and, in most cases, traced. The demand for hospital care can be met without special measures. (The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare).