Saturday 8/15/20
FOREIGN WORKERS AFFECTED

Numerous coronavirus clusters found at Finnish construction sites

THL says "special attention must be paid" to the spread of Covid-19 among foreign workers.
A construction site in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Photo: Foreigner.fi
A construction site in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Photo: Foreigner.fi

There are places where the spread of Covid-19 is easier and more common. These are, for example, those workplaces that require the presence of labour and where remote work is not possible. These places include construction sites, according to the Finnish health authorities.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said that "several coronavirus clusters have been found at construction sites in Finland." And, according to its account, foreign construction workers would be among the people most likely to contract and spread the disease at this stage of the epidemic.

"As workers from many countries work on construction sites, and often stay in confined spaces and move from one site to another, special attention must be paid to combating the corona epidemic among them," the health agency said in a statement.

How to prevent infection

According to THL, "the premise is that no one should go to work when ill." The employer should update the site's hazard assessment and risk assessment taking the corona situation into account and provide guidelines for their workers.

"Minimising social contacts, good hand hygiene, cleaning of tools and social facilities, cleanliness of the site and use of personal protective equipment based on risk assessment as well as the cleanliness of possible shared accommodation and hygiene arrangements will prevent the spread of the disease."

Self-isolation required

Finland's health agency also stressed that most foreign workers arriving in Finland "should comply with self-isolation" for two weeks.

This means that they must avoid unnecessary social contacts for a period of 14 days, in which only movements between the workplace and accommodation and other essential movement are "permitted."

Self-isolation is a requirement that the Finnish authorities have kept in force for workers arriving from abroad, but they have not explained how they intend to ensure compliance or who is in charge of monitoring it.

Currently, only those workers arriving from the Baltic countries, Norway, Denmark and Iceland are not asked to isolate.

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