A nurse took a swab sample for a coronavirus test from a motorist at a drive-in testing site in Otaniemi, Espoo, on 8 February 2021. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) convened yesterday to discuss the need to update the objectives and tools set forth in its coronavirus testing strategy.

The government announced after the meeting that the strategy has been updated to detect new infections, chains of exposure and new virus mutations faster than currently and, thereby, effectively prevent the spread of the virus strains with restrictions and quarantines.

The strategy had been devised last spring and updated in August 2020.

One of its main objectives is still to ensure people can get tested for the virus within 24 hours and receive the test results no later than 24 hours after the test. Officials responsible for contact-tracing must be notified of all positive tests without delay so that everyone exposed to the virus can be identified and, if necessary, ordered into quarantine.

The government also drew attention to the importance of making sure the number of sample collection sites and methods is sufficient and the sites easily accessible.

“Mobile or targeted low-threshold testing sites will be set up for regions and population groups where the number of infections is high and where it can be suspected people are not accessing ordinary testing services sufficiently. Rapid tests will utilised increasingly in the testing effort to the extent possible.”

The testing capacity will be directed especially at people with symptoms, although also asymptomatic people should be tested if deemed necessary by health care officials. Infections caused by the new more transmissible variants should be investigated and the chains of infections identified without delay, the government said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT