Testing is key for relaxing and ultimately lifting the restrictions adopted to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus, reminds the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) revealed over the weekend that it is continuing to explore new solutions for tackling the coronavirus pandemic in Finland.

“We must have the readiness to revise our course based on new information. The situation picture and modellings are tools for foresight and assessing the effectiveness of measures. The country’s government makes the decisions,” tweeted Päivi Väyrynen, the head of communications at THL.

Markku Tervahauta, the director general at THL, on Saturday stated to Helsingin Sanomat that Finland could take the same approach as South Korea: introduce restrictions until the spread of the virus has slowed down sufficiently and then start relaxing them while keeping the epidemic from re-escalating.

The approach, he gauged, would require widespread testing, quick tracing of infection chains and isolating the exposed efficiently.

“Our thinking is that the window for that kind of an approach could be open. And that it could also be feasible in the Finnish environment,” he revealed in an interview with the daily newspaper.

A similar hybrid strategy has been proposed by Aki Lindén (SDP), an ex-managing director of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. He said last week that it is necessary, on the one hand, to limit social contact to ensure the health care system is not overburdened and, on the other, to proactively track infections by increasing testing, issuing quarantine orders and tracing chains of infections.

“In spite of our effective restrictions and eradication efforts, some parts of the population are developing an immunity,” he reminded.

He pointed out that relaxing and lifting the restrictions is inevitable because they are affecting the economy negatively and threatening the very foundation of the health care and welfare system.

“We’ll have to start doing this before reaching point zero, because that could take months or even years. The virus itself can naturally become weaker, as viruses often do. But you shouldn’t lull yourself with wishful thinking. We have to skilfully and determinedly use all measures at the same time.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi