A photo showing a handful of people outside the main entrance of Stockmann’s iconic department store in downtown Helsinki on Wednesday, 18 March, when many of the Finnish government’s measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic entered into force. (Hanna Matikainen – Lehtikuva)


THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) has reported that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 359 in Finland, signalling an increase of 40 from Tuesday.

THL on Wednesday announced it is updating its reporting practices on the epidemic and switching to using the infectious diseases register for monitoring the total number of infections, meaning there is no district-specific data for Tuesday.

The total number is also affected by the fact that not all suspected cases are tested for the virus because many hospital districts have decided to focus on testing certain key groups, such as the elderly, people with serious respiratory symptoms and health care professionals.

No deaths related to the epidemic have been reported in Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday wrote that Finns appear to have taken to heart the newly announced orders, instructions and recommendations on social distancing and remote working. Traffic data, it highlighted, indicates that there was 45 per cent less traffic than usual on roads to the Finnish capital between 8am and 9am on Wednesday.

Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) similarly stated to the daily newspaper that the number of pedestrians and public transport users has decreased substantially in recent days, standing at only 50 per cent of the usual already on Monday.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT