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Advice for the over-70s on protecting themselves from the coronavirus

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 19.3.2020 9.59 | Published in English on 19.3.2020 at 12.11
Press release 55/2020

The Government's objective is to protect people over 70 years of age from risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19). Older people are clearly at a higher risk than young people of getting serious symptoms requiring hospital care.

As a general guideline, persons over 70 years of age are obliged to refrain from contact with other persons to the extent possible, i.e. in quarantine-like conditions.

The Government requests people over 70 to avoid close contact and movement outside their homes because it would increase the risk of infection. If it is essential to go in person to a shop, pharmacy or health station or to do other business, the advice is to do this at times when there are few other customers around. Please keep 1-meter distance from other people.

In general, situations should be avoided that would increase the risk of exposure. Effective hand hygiene is vital.

Everyone is urged to follow the guidance issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) to minimise the risk of infection. 

Everyone should think about how their own actions and choices can help avoid spreading the coronavirus, and should make the necessary adjustments to prevent risks. 

Advice for family and friends of older people and those in risk groups

Everyone is asked to think about the risk of infection and to avoid doing things that might spread the coronavirus.

In particular, we should consider the position of older people and those who are vulnerable. A person’s resistance to the disease may be impaired due to, for example, underlying diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Non-essential visits to anyone over 70 and in other risk groups should be avoided. They can be contacted by phone or Skype, for example. 

If a visit is essential, handshakes, hugging and other close contact should be avoided unless essential for care or treatment reasons, in the case of staff, for instance. It is important that all visitors use a scarf or other protection for their nose and mouth.

People close to those over 70 and in risk groups are urged to consider the potential risk of infection via their other contacts.

Neighbours, family and friends are important supporters of everyday life in emergency conditions.


Kirsi Kaikko, Senior Specialist, [email protected]
Satu Karppanen, Ministerial Adviser, [email protected]
Seija Viljamaa, Senior Specialist, [email protected]

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