The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) have prepared a recommendation on physical activity and cultural activities organised indoors during the coronavirus epidemic.
For example, during the acceleration phase of the epidemic, municipalities can recommend that the number of users of spaces be limited to half of the normal permitted number, the health agency says in a press release.
In addition, municipalities and joint municipal authorities can recommend that group hobbies held indoors for ages 18 and over to be suspended or organised remotely where there is high-risk of infection and the activities are high-risk types.
THL stressed that during the spreading stage of the epidemic, it is recommended that group hobbies for adults are implemented remotely as far as possible and suspended entirely if necessary. Municipalities can also close public spaces completely when necessary, taking into account the purpose and use of the premises.
"However, careful discretion should be used regarding the hobbies of children and young people," the health agency notes.
According to the latest weekly epidemiological evaluation, on Wednesday 21 October six areas reported having entered the acceleration phase: Helsinki-Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Southwest Finland (Turku), South Ostrobothnia and the Åland Islands. The Vaasa Hospital District reported entering the spreading phase.
Team and contact sports
THL says that among the factors that affect the risk of infection during recreational activities are the number of participants, the size of the recreational space and its air conditioning, as well as the nature of the activities.
"The basic principle is that the risk of the infection increases if sufficient safe distances cannot be maintained, masks cannot be used, and the activity is associated with being out of breath or speaking loudly."
According to THL, risk of infection is "especially increased" in team and contact sports indoors.
Almost 500 cases from Friday to Monday
On Monday, THL reported 496 new cases registered in Finland (178 on Saturday, 196 on Sunday and 122 on Monday). With them, the total number of infections in the country rose to 14,970.
To date, there have been 354 deaths associated with the coronavirus in Finland. The country also has 74 patients hospitalized due to the epidemic, of which 10 are in intensive care units.
Currently, the incidence of new cases is 50 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
This data still does not take into account the report on infections and deaths recorded on Tuesday.