Holiday-makers on the slopes at Levi Ski Resort in Kittilä, Finnish Lapland, on 19 December 2021. (Aku Häyrynen – Lehtikuva)


SOME TOURISTS in Inari, north-eastern Lapland, have neglected to follow the quarantine instructions after contracting or becoming exposed to the new coronavirus, writes YLE.

“The lack of discipline among foreign tourists has been a challenge. They’ve found it tough to follow the isolation and quarantine instructions, and they’ve left the country in the middle of isolation. It has also kept our staff busy,” told Outi Liisanantti, the chief physician in Inari.

Finnish tourists who test positive for the virus, she said, have largely been understanding, co-operative and patient when instructed to quarantine. Local tourism industry companies have similarly shown a willingness to work together to determine the whereabouts of tourists breaking quarantine.

“There are 65 people in isolation, about half of whom are foreign tourists. This is a very significant burden on the municipality,” said Liisanantti.

The return journeys of foreign visitors have proven another challenge as airlines have reduced capacity in the face of difficulties, such as crew shortages, caused by the omicron variant. Yet another challenge has been transporting domestic tourists to their home municipality for isolation, as there is only one taxi equipped to transport coronavirus carriers in Inari.

About 80 foreign tourists were in isolation in Finnish Lapland on Christmas, according to YLE.

Helsingin Sanomat reported last week that the incidence of coronavirus infections has risen to 450 per 100,000 inhabitants – its highest level since the start of the epidemic – in the Hospital District of Lapland.

“Basic health care has been under great pressure in Rovaniemi. We’ve had three to five coronavirus patients in hospital care in recent times. So far we haven’t had more than one needing intensive care at the same time, and right now there isn’t anyone in the intensive care unit,” said Markku Broas, the chief physician of infectious diseases at the Hospital District of Lapland.

He added that the newly adopted restrictions on restaurant operations were much needed.

“We have to reduce contacts. We’re recommending that travellers stick to their own groups and reduce contacts like that,” he commented.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT