On March 4 the Government instructed municipalities, hospital districts and the Regional State Administrative Agencies to prepare suitable quarantine facilities. Isolation and quarantine are regulated by Communicable Diseases Act (2016)(1). The physician in charge of communicable diseases either with the municipality or joint municipal authority for hospital district may order the person into isolation or quarantine also against his or her will.
People developing respiratory symptoms are advised to stay at home and to avoid public places. All persons returning from international travel are advised to stay in quarantine for 14 days. Persons tested positive for COVID-19 are put in quarantine either at their homes or if they require hospital care, at a hospital. Contacts of the positive cases are advised to avoid social interaction and travelling and to follow symptom development over 14 days after exposure. A physician may order a contact person to be quarantined, if the person’s situation does not allow to self-isolate.
If a person cannot be quarantined at home, they may be assigned a quarantine facility and need to pay the cost of the quarantine themselves. For example, 140 studios or one-bedroom apartments were designated in late March in the Helsinki area, where quarantined persons can be placed. Larger spaces are also available. In other larger cities facilities are also mapped, e.g. for a thousand in Turku.
See section 6 (borders) for isolation requirements for people arriving from high-risk countries.
On 12th October the length of quarantine was shortened to 10 days with guidance that those with symptoms should contact health care system. For those with the disease the length of isolation was also reduced to 7 days or two days after symptoms, except for mild remaining single symptoms, such as irritation cough or changes in smell and taste (2).
On 7th December nurses’ union expressed concerns about stretching the limits of health care personnel quarantine during possible staff shortages. THL advices that if the quarantine of an employee exposed to Covid-19 is not possible without endangering the operation of health care unit, this employee can continue to work with additional safety precautions during the quarantine (3). Some hospitals have already applied this practise and obliged their employees exposed to Covid-19 to continue working. This obligation does not relieve any other quarantine restrictions – for example, these employees are still restricted from visiting grocery stores.