29 April 2020

Updated 29.4.2020 (Press release 4/2020). These instructions will be modified as required as we obtain further information on COVID-19.

When is protection necessary?

Protection is important. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often and properly. Try to keep  a distance of 1 –2 m  from clients and colleagues. When greeting other people do not shake hands. 

Follow the your employer’s guidelines regarding safety, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other orders and restrictions. 

How is coronavirus transmitted?

The virus mainly spreads from person to person through droplet transmission in close contact. The virus can survive on surfaces and can also be transmitted as a contact infection if you handle materials or surfaces contaminated with the sputum of an infected person.   Infections via food or objects have not been found.

Nevertheless, surfaces are  not considered the main route of infection.

In everyday life, you can reduce your risk of infection by maintaining good hand hygiene.

What do I do if I suspect I have contracted coronavirus?

Coronavirus patients’ symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath and possibly stomach symptoms.

If your symptoms are mild, stay at home. Having mild symptoms does not mean you need to contact  health service. This way we can ensure that  health care professionals’ resources are saved for those with more severe symptoms. 

If you continue feeling ill or your symptoms become more severe contact your local health centre or occupational health services. They will instruct you on how to seek treatment. 

Follow your employer’s instructions regarding sick leaves

  • Contact your superior and tell them that you are sick. If your employer wants a  certificate from a physician  contact your occupational health services  or health centre by phone or via the internet. 
  • Keep some distance from your family members if possible. Use just you own towel. 
  • Use paper handkerchiefs and through them away immediately after having used them. 
  • Visitors are unfortunately not welcome while being sick.
  • Keep some distance from your family members if possible. Use your own towel.
  • Use paper handkerchiefs and throw them away immediately after using them.
  • Do not welcome visitors while you are sick.

If you cough, cough into a handkerchief or your sleeve. Do not cough into your hands.

Instructions: Hand washing and coughing

What can I do to avoid infection?

  • Follow the news e.g. YLE and official instructions to keep yourself updated on the latest recommendations. 
  • Follow all the instructions given by your employer. 
  • If you have been travelling abroad and return to Finland, contact your employer and discuss and agree with them on your tasks and when to return to work. The recommendation of the government is to work at home (remote work) for two weeks before returning to work. 
  • Do not travel when it is not necessary. Follow the travelling instructions of the Foreign Ministry. 
  • Try not to use buses and other public transport during rush hours. 
  • During the spring you can walk or travel by bike whenever possible. 

 Keep distance  

  • When greeting do not shake hands.  
  • Work remote if possible.   
  • Keep a distance of 1-2 m from other people whenever possible (not your own household). 
  • Avoid working closely with  other people.   
  • If you work in a small team, keep working with the same team. and have also the coffee breaks with the same team. 
  • Keep away from people who cough or sneeze.

Hygiene

  • Clean the commonly used equipment  by wiping it with soapwater or a detergent containing a with disinfectant.  If possible, use disposable gloves, when working with shared devices.  You can protect the controls and keyboard of a shared device with disposable plastic which you should place in the waste bin after use. 
  • Try to keep at least a distance  of at least one meter from people who cough or sneeze.
  • Keep your hands clean. Always wash your hands when you arrive at work, before eating and smoking or using snuff, and when you leave work.
  • The best way to wash your hands is to use soap and warm water. See Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Hand Washing Video. (in Finnish).
  • Only use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution or if you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water, unless you have been instructed otherwise at work.
  • When using a sanitizer, use enough to be able to rub it all over your hands thoroughly.
  • If using disposable gloves, remove them without touching their outer surface: Correct removal of disposable gloves. (in Finnish).
  • Do not touch your mouth or nose area with protective gloves or dirty hands.
  • Wash your hands after removing protective gloves.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) 

You do not need a surgical mask or a face mask  in every-day life. However, a face mask may protect others by reducing the spread of droplets when you cough and sneeze e.g. in shops or when using public buses or trains. 

If you have symptoms you must stay at home.  

How to use a face mask correctly 

  •  Wash your hands before putting on a clean mask. 
  • Do not touch the face mask while wearing it.  
  • Do not drink or eat while using a mask. 
  • If you touch the surface of the mask during use, wash or disinfect your hands.  
  • When you take off the mask, only touch the straps. Do not touch the outer surface of the mask itself.  
  • Wash or disinfect your hands after taking off your mask.  
  • Wash a cloth mask in a hot cycle (90°C) or boil it for five minutes in water with a small amount of detergent. Rinse and dry the mask. 
  • Masks made from paper towels cannot be reused.  

If your employer has told you to use a mask or respirator use them according to the instructions. The reason for using a mask or respirator at work is probably not to avoid COVID-19. If you cannot wear the mask correctly or tightly enough, or if the mask is broken, you should inform your superior.

Follow the guidelines of youemployer regarding safety, personnel protection equipment (PPE) and other orders and restrictions. 

See also Information on surgical masks and respirators

Health care professionals

If you are working in health care and are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, you need to use personal protective equipment. You also need to use personal protective equipment if you are examining a person who is suspected to have contracted coronavirus.

See THL instructions for health care professionals  (in Finnish) 

Novel Coronavirus: Latest updates on Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) website.

Further information please contact viestinta@ttl.fi

The guidelines of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) are drawn up together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (SMAH) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. We also follow the publications of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), COVID-19

World Health Organization (WHO), coronavirus