7 April 2020

Updated 30 April 2020

Background and the clinical signs of COVID-19

Cases of pneumonia were detected in China caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in December 2019. The disease is often referred to as COVID-19 infection. More information about the virus and the disease:  THL’s Information page on the new coronavirus.

General guidelines for ports

It is recommended that each port establish teams that take responsibility for the preparations necessary for a potential epidemic. It is best to have all the operators working in the port represented in the team. See FIOH’s guidelines for employers.

The protection measures’ main emphasis is on supervisory measures and improving hygiene practices.

Supervisory measures

  • Please emphasize to the personnel that they cannot come to work whensick.
  • Divide the staff into groups or shifts that do not mix with each other and/or that do not meet each other.
  • Breaks should be scheduled in such a way that as few people as possible occupy the relaxation areas at the same time.
  • Minimize visits to ships and keep in touch remotely.

Improving hygiene practices

It is important to emphasize the importance of hygiene guidelines regarding hand washing and coughing and sneezing.

  • Provide guidance on regular and effective hand washing and remind people of proper coughing and sneezing hygiene.
  • Post coughing and sneezing and hand washing guidelines in relaxation areas, on doors, and on bulletin boards. The material can be printed out from THL’s website.
  • Check out the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s video ‘Yski oikein ja laita stoppi tartunnoille’ (Cough right and stop infections) and share it whenever possible.


Pilots may encounter sick ship’s crew members on board coming from abroad in situations where exposure is possible (staying on the bridge for more than 15 minutes). It is important to maintain a distance of 1–2 metres and avoid shaking hands, as well as to observe good hand hygiene.

THL’s website has printable guidelines for maintaining distance

Language versions (Finnish, English and Swedish) for all printable guidelines to be distributed in port can be found at THL aineistopankki.

Returning from travel

The website of the Finnish Border Guard has guidelines for border crossing.
See guideline for border crossing (Border security).


Normal cleaning practices are adequate in ports.
See FIOH’s cleaning guidelines.

Further information: 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