Skip to content

Finland enters third year of pandemic

Two years after the first Covid-19 diagnosis in Finland, there are signs that the worst may be over for the latest surge.

The first patient was treated at Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, in late January 2020. Image: Jyri Tynkkynen / Yle

Finland officially entered the third year of the pandemic on Saturday, two years after the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the country.

The apparent patient zero was a 32-year-old woman visiting Finnish Lapland from Wuhan, China, whose infection was confirmed on 29 January 2020.

At the time, Mika Salminen, THL director of health security at the health institute THL told Yle that "the risk of the disease spreading in Finland was very small" and there [was] "no need for concern".

The first Covid death came about three weeks later in southern Finland.

This past Friday, the THL reported 23 more deaths, bringing the overall death toll to 1,942 since 21 March 2020.

Last August, Finland passed a grim milestone of more than 1,000 Covid deaths. Two weeks ago, the first death of a child was reported.

Nearly half of eligible population boosted

Close to half a million infections have been confirmed at Finnish labs. However, the actual number could be many times higher, as that does not include home testing or undetected cases.

More than 10.8 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Finland since the first on 27 December 2020, an average of just over two doses per capita.

As of Saturday nearly half of those eligible for booster doses of coronavirus vaccine have received them, according to the THL. Among those aged 12 and over, 49.7 percent have gotten at least three doses, while some in risk groups have received four.

Meanwhile almost 84 percent of the eligible population have received two jabs, while nearly 87 percent have gotten at least one dose.

For the population at large, the corresponding figures are 43.8 percent for the third dose and 73.6 percent for the second while 76.3 percent have been administered at least one dose.

Fewer patients in ICUs

There are signs that the worst may be over for the current surge, driven by the Omicron variant since mid-December.

On Friday, the number of patients requiring hospitalisation dropped by 34 since Wednesday.

There were 641 patients in hospital, 53 of them in intensive care. That was down from a near-record high of 64 on 19-20 January, which was the highest level since the early days of the pandemic in April 2020.

In light of figures showing a plateauing of infections and hospitalisations, the government announced an easing of some restrictions, followed on Friday by regional authorities.

You can keep up with the latest developments every day via the Yle News coronavirus blog and dashboard.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia