The number of infections is currently very high, writes the OMT in a letter to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. And although fewer people are becoming seriously ill from the Omicron variant, healthcare is under great pressure.

Larger groups

The OMT therefore advises extending the use of face masks to places such as busy shopping streets and all publicly accessible indoor spaces for everyone of 13 and older. ‘Classes in larger groups’ at higher education institutions come into this category as well.

It is not clear why the advice does not apply to classes in smaller groups, at exams and in libraries. The OMT was not available for further questions.

FFP2 mask

In addition, the OMT advises using only surgical masks – the familiar blue and white single-use masks. “Non-medical” face masks of varying fabrics are less safe, according to the OMT.

Vulnerable people are advised to wear a safer FFP2 mask in ‘uncontrolled’ situations, for instance “where a lot of people are moving around, where social distancing cannot be enforced, where aerosol formation occurs through singing and shouting, and where there are doubts about the ventilation in an indoor space”.

On 14 January the government will take the OMT advice into account in its decision on whether or not to extend the lockdown in higher education. The OMT will issue more detailed advice on that later.

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