Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) spoke about updating the national coronavirus testing and tracing strategy in a news conference in Helsinki on Tuesday, 14 September 2021. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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THE MINISTRY of Social Affairs and Health on Tuesday presented its new guidelines on coronavirus testing and tracing to municipalities and hospital districts in Finland.

The guidelines state that fully vaccinated people who are exhibiting minor symptoms no longer need to be tested on a large scale, although anyone who develops symptoms associated with the virus or has reason to suspect an infection should have access to testing.

Especially unvaccinated people should get tested without delay at the onset of symptoms.

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) on Tuesday urged Finns to take advantage of at-home coronavirus tests, adding that authorities are drafting more detailed instructions for their use.

“From Finland’s perspective, the big question is whether people want to use at-home tests to make sure they’re fit to go to work or school or ready to participate in gatherings. Voluntary testing is very common in a number of countries, and I see at-home tests as a good tool for everyone to make sure everything is alright,” she was quoted as saying by Helsingin Sanomat.

Mikko Pietilä, a chief physician at the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, reminded that at-home tests are intended to complement official tests, meaning their results cannot be cited as grounds for placing someone into quarantine, for example.

“Coronavirus testing will going forward be targeted primarily at people who have been exposed to the virus, unvaccinated people with symptoms and people who are susceptible to a serious coronavirus infection also after vaccinations,” reads a press release issued yesterday by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Children, the guidelines also indicate, will no longer need to get tested for flu-like symptoms. It is nonetheless recommended that under 12-year-olds get tested if they develop symptoms after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus of if they live in the same household with over 16-year-olds who have yet been fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health explained that testing is scaled down in order to dedicate more health care resources to treating symptoms not caused by the coronavirus.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT