“There is currently no need to change the previous recommendation regarding recreational activities for children and young people,” the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group noted after its meeting on Tuesday.

The former Helsinki mayor, Jan Vapaavuori, gave the opening kick of the Helsinki Cup, the largest and most international youth football tournament, at the Töölö Bay in Helsinki in July 2019. Many kids prepare for the cup in Helsinki’s sports facilities year-round. Photograph: TONY ÖHBERG/FINLAND TODAY

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends to the Regional State Administrative Agency that supervised recreational activities for children and young people in the metropolitan area may continue for those born in 2003 and after—despite the extensive closures of indoor sports facilities.

The coronavirus coordination group gathered on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing pandemic.

The group also came to the conclusion that face mask use and remote working should continue in the entire Helsinki region until February 13.

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When managing the pandemic, the coordination group noted in a statement that important factors include taking care of the vaccination coverage and the carrying capacity of social and health care and the implementation of the principle of “children and young people first.” (According to the group, restrictive measures concerning children and young people are to be avoided and will only be used as a last resort, if absolutely necessary.)

The coordination group stressed that the principle concerning children and young people is supported by the latest epidemiological assessments of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the cities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

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“There is currently no need to change the previous recommendation regarding recreational activities for children and young people,” the group noted.

The coordination group has also outlined new testing guidelines because “the testing capacity in health care is very busy and it takes several days to access the tests.”

A person with mild symptoms,” the group noted, “should not seek a laboratory test if he or she does not belong to a risk group for coronavirus or does not work in a health care, care institution or housing unit for risk groups.”

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The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland established the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group in September 2020. The group aims to strengthen the formation of a common situational assessment and to coordinate and prepare local and regional measures.

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