Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and Taneli Puumalainen of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) provided an update of the coronavirus situation in Finland in Helsinki on Thursday, 19 November 2020. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)


OFFICIALS from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Thursday confirmed that the number of new coronavirus infections is increasing in Finland.

The number of new infections, they warned, is presently so high that the epidemiological situation can deteriorate rapidly in all parts of the country.

Taneli Puumalainen, the chief medical officer at THL, revealed in a press conference that the total number of coronavirus infections will rise by roughly 350 today. “Finland will today breach the 20,000-mark for confirmed coronavirus cases,” he said.

The number of new infections stood at 1,534 between 9 and 15 November, representing an increase of 122 from the period between 2 and 8 November. The majority of the cases from last week were reported by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), where the weekly increase in cases has grown by roughly a hundred since the week ending on 25 October.

A total of 986 new cases were detected in the district between 9 and 15 November.

THL on Thursday confirmed that the hospital district currently meets many of the criteria for the worst, spreading stage of the epidemic, even though the demand for hospital and intensive care capacity remains manageable.

The epidemic is currently in the acceleration stage not only in HUS, but also in Kanta-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, Pirkanmaa, South-west Finland, Vaasa and Åland Islands. All other hospital districts are in the base stage of the epidemic, with the exception of the towns of Kouvola, Kruunupyy, Lahti and Rauma.

Although the majority of new infections are caught within the country, the share of infections contracted overseas has crept up slightly, currently making up about six per cent of new infections. Another six per cent of new infections, meanwhile, are linked to an infection brought to the country from overseas.

More than a third of new infections are detected in people who were in quarantine at the time of detection.

Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, the head of strategic affairs and chief medical officer at the Ministry of Social Affairs, reminded that 55 per cent of new infections are contracted from another member of the household.

“The inner circle, home and friends remain the biggest sources of infections, but more infections are now caught at workplaces – about 20 per cent of all traced infections,” she said. “Break facilities and coffee stations are places where it’s good to keep hygiene and social distancing in mind.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT