More cases caused by the mutated coronavirus variant diagnosed in Finland

Publication date 11 Jan 2021

In addition to the previous 20 cases, 29 new cases caused by the mutated coronavirus variant have been diagnosed in Finland. A total of 49 cases caused by the mutated coronavirus variant have now been diagnosed in Finland. 18 of the new cases have been found from persons arriving in Finland since 20 December. The passengers have arrived in Finland from the following countries: United Kingdom, Ghana, Sweden, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Turkey and Estonia. Eight of the samples come from close contacts of infected persons previously diagnosed. The source of three infections is still being investigated. At least 55 potentially infected persons have been placed in quarantine.

Of all diagnosed cases caused by the mutated coronavirus variant, 47 are of the mutated virus type detected in Britain and two are of the virus type detected in South Africa. 28 of the new cases diagnosed now are of the British variant and one is of the South African variant.

Passengers arriving from UK, Ireland and South Africa will be directed to COVID testing and quarantine

Based on the statement of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency has suspended all passenger air traffic from the UK, Ireland and South Africa to Finland until 18 January 2021. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare recommends that all visitors to these countries who are travelling to Finland via different routes be tested twice upon arrival. Persons arriving in Finland are given instructions to avoid contact with persons outside their immediate family and eliminate the risk of infecting others until both test results are ready. If there is no other way of ensuring a person will not infect others, they may be placed in quarantine until two negative test results prove they are not infected with coronavirus.

In addition, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare recommends expanding the testing activities at border stations so that all passengers are either tested on arrival or it can be ensured that they have a negative test result certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before.

Identifying those infected and breaking transmission chains quickly is important

Those exposed to the infection caused by the mutated coronavirus variant must be identified as quickly as possible. Everyone exposed must quarantine carefully and isolate themselves from other people for 14 days. Regardless of symptoms, everyone exposed must be tested as soon as the exposure has been discovered, again during quarantine and before ending the quarantine.

Social welfare and health care actors must ensure that persons suspected of having been infected with the new variant are immediately examined and directed to testing. Laboratories must send positive samples to a more detailed examination of the strain in accordance with THL's instructions.

The new variant of COVID-19 can spread faster than the previously known one. This has also been observed in the tracking of transmission chains in Finland. However, there is no evidence that the new variant causes a more serious disease. The coronavirus vaccine is also expected to protect against the disease caused by the mutated strain. 

Additional information:

Taneli Puumalainen
Chief Physician
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
[email protected]
Learn more about travelling during the coronavirus pandemic

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