Border officials in personal protective equipment welcomed passengers from Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, at Turku Airport on Tuesday, 18 August 2020. (Roni Lehti – Lehtikuva)

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AN ADDITIONAL 17 coronavirus carriers arrived in Turku from Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, on Tuesday, 18 August.

The City of Turku on Wednesday stated that 113 of the 127 passengers on the flight were tested for the new coronavirus upon their arrival and all of them have been ordered into quarantine under the act on communicable diseases by the chief physician of infectious diseases in Turku.

Number of Covid-19 cases surpasses 7,800

  • The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare says the number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections stands currently at 7,805, after an increase of 29 between Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Over 130 of the infections were detected during the latest seven-day monitoring period between 10 and 16 August, representing a drop of 37 from the period between 3 and 9 August.
  • The death toll from the virus stands at 334.
  • The number of patients in hospital care with symptoms caused by the virus rose by three to eight between Tuesday and Wednesday. None of the patients are presently in need of critical care.
  • Around 510,400 samples have been tested for the virus to date, signalling an increase of 10,400 from Tuesday.

Flights between Skopje and Turku have thus been linked to 60 coronavirus infections detected in Turku and the Hospital District of Southwest Finland (VSSHP). Twenty-six of the infections were detected in passengers arriving on 8 August, five in passengers arriving on 11 August and 12 in passengers arriving on 15 August.

North Macedonia is presently categorised as a high-risk country due to its high incidence of coronavirus cases.

While passengers arriving from the country have been tested and quarantined in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading wider in Finland, infections contracted on the flights have been detected in at least Ostrobothnia, according to YLE.

Minna Arve (NCP), the Mayor of Turku, on Wednesday announced she has come to an agreement on reducing the service frequency and requiring all passengers to test negative for the virus before boarding an aircraft bound for Turku with Finavia and Wizz Air. The Hungarian low-cost carrier has operated two weekly flights between Skopje and Turku.

“Thanks to Wizz Air for making the responsible decision,” she tweeted yesterday.

Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka (SDP) said the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) is considering the option of discontinuing the flights temporarily.

Harakka added that he is personally hopeful that the flights will be suspended by 29 August.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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