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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in Finland|
Confirmed cases per 100,000 inhabitants
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||Between 23 January and 28 January 2020|
(Between 2 months and 6 days and 2 months, 1 week and 4 days ago)[a]
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Finland is an ongoing viral pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case of COVID-19 in Finland during the 2019–20 worldwide pandemic was confirmed on 29 January 2020, when a Chinese tourist visiting Ivalo from Wuhan tested positive for the virus.
On 31 December 2019, the Health Commission of Wuhan, Hubei, China, informed the WHO about a cluster of acute pneumonia cases with unknown origin in its province. On 9 January 2020, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) reported the identification of a novel coronavirus (later identified as the SARS-CoV-2) as the cause. On 27 January, following the developments of COVID-19 outbreak in mainland China, Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs advised citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Hubei province. The following day, Finnair announced it would be suspending its five weekly routes to Nanjing and Beijing Daxing until the end of March.
On 29 January, Finland confirmed the first case of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A 32-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan sought medical attention in Ivalo and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. She had travelled from Wuhan. She was quarantined at Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi. The woman recovered and was discharged on 5 February after testing negative on two consecutive days.
On 30 January, Finland's health officials estimated that up to 24 people may have been exposed to the virus. By 5 February, three of the potentially exposed individuals were known to have left the country, and fourteen of the remaining 21 had been placed in quarantine and were expected to be released over the following weekend.
On 26 February, Finland's health officials confirmed the second case, a Finnish woman, who made a trip to Milan and was back in Finland on 22 February, tested positive at the Helsinki University Central Hospital.
On 1 March, three new cases—associates of the woman diagnosed with the virus on 28 February—were confirmed in the Helsinki region. They were instructed to remain in isolation at home. This brought the total number of infections diagnosed in Finland to five. Later that day, 130 people, including students at Helsinki University’s Viikki teacher training school, were placed in quarantine after having been in close contact with one of the diagnosed.
On 5 March, five new cases were confirmed: three in Uusimaa, one in Pirkanmaa and one in Tavastia Proper. One of the cases in Uusimaa, a working age woman, is associated with the earlier cases in the Helsinki region. The other cases, two working age men, have gotten the virus from northern Italy. All of the patients are in good health and have been advised to stay at home. The case in Tavastia Proper is a child of a Hämeenlinna family that recently visited northern Italy. The family has been in voluntary home quarantine after the trip and nobody else is known to have been in close contact with the patient. The case in Pirkanmaa, a 44-year-old woman is also in home quarantine and in good health. Three people have been in close contact with her. This brought the total number of confirmed cases in Finland to twelve.
On 11 March, 19 new cases were reported, including 10 in Uusimaa region, three in Pirkanmaa, one in Central Finland, one in Tavastia Proper in Forssa, one in South Karelia, one in South Ostrobothnia and one in Southwest Finland.
On 12 March, 50 new cases were reported. An employee at the Helsinki-Uusimaa Hospital district (HUS) has tested positive for novel coronavirus.
On 13 March, according to THL, Finland became close to the epidemic threshold as the total confirmed cases increased to 156. Several regions in Finland start to limit laboratory testing of suspected coronavirus cases based on importance criteria. THL instructs the public not to contact health care providers and stay at home for mild symptoms.
On 15 March, The Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS) decided people returning to Finland from trips abroad will not necessarily be tested for novel coronavirus.
On 16 March, the Finnish Government, jointly with the President of Finland, declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. 272 laboratory-confirmed cases caused by COVID-19 had been diagnosed in Finland by 16 March 2020 at 2 pm. The head of THL, Markku Tervahauta, told MTV3 that the actual number of COVID-19 cases might be 20—30 times higher than what had been confirmed by testing, due to the fact that testing was limited to risk groups, the severely ill, and healthcare workers.
On 16 March, the Government also announced they had decided to take the following measures by issuing a decree on implementing the Emergency Powers Act. The measures will be in place until 13 April, after approval by the Parliament of Finland:
THL considers the figure given by the Finnish Infectious Diseases Register as the official figure, and on 19 March, 304 of the confirmed cases had been reported to the register. The following day, approximately 450 cases had been confirmed in the country. The highest number of cases have been identified in the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district in southern Finland.
The first death, an elderly individual who lived in the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district, who had died a day earlier, was reported on 21 March.
On 23 March, it was reported that former president Martti Ahtisaari had contracted the disease. His wife the former first lady, Eeva Ahtisaari, was confirmed to have the disease on Saturday 21 March.
On 27 March the Parliament voted unanimously to close the borders of the Uusimaa region, which has the most confirmed cases, in hopes of slowing down the epidemic in the rest of the country. The restriction came into force the following midnight. Uusimaa has 1.7 million inhabitants, nearly one third of Finland's total population, and contains the capital city Helsinki. Travel to and from Uusimaa is prohibited without a valid reason and several hundred police officers are enforcing the restriction with the assistance of the Finnish Defence Forces.
On 16 March, the Finnish Government, in cooperation with the President of Finland, declared a state of emergency in the country. A list of measures intended to slow down the spreading of the virus and to protect at-risk groups were implemented in accordance with the Emergency Powers Act (1552/2011), the Communicable Diseases Act (1227/2016), and other legislation. The measures include the closing of schools (excluding early education) and most government-run public facilities, limiting public gatherings, and closing the country's borders. They will be in place until 13 April.
On 20 March, the government announced a €15 billion support package to aid businesses and individuals suffering from the economic slowdown resulting from the virus. This was a €10 billion increase to a previous support package, announced 16 March. Among the presented changes was a 2.6% decrease in employee pension payments until the end of 2020.
On 25 March, the government decided to restrict movement between the Uusimaa region and the rest of Finland. However, people can move between regions if their job requires them to or if their relative has died. The proposal also does not affect cargo or freight transportation. The changes would be in place until 19 April.
Similar to other countries, the emergence of the virus has increased sales and stockpiling of daily goods, such as groceries and hygiene products. Fears of quarantine and potential shortages has lead to panic buying, particularly of canned goods, hand sanitiser, and toilet paper. On 15 March 2020, the Central Finnish Cooperative Society (S-Group subsidiary) reported an estimated two to three times as many visitors as usual. Kesko reported similar increases. The practice of self-isolation has also increased demand for online grocers.
|Hospital district||Number of|
|Helsinki and Uusimaa||836|