Helsinki confirms coronavirus case at Finland's biggest amusement park

A group visited the park in the afternoon of 26 July and may have spread the illness to other visitors.

Linnanmäki amusement park's ferris wheel (file photo). Image: Matti Myller / Yle

A group who visited Helsinki's popular Linnanmäki amusement park late last month may have exposed others to the novel coronavirus, according to an announcement from the city of Helsinki issued Monday evening.

The group in question visited the park on Sunday 26 July, roughly between the hours of 3-6pm.

The number of other visitors to the park during that period was normal, according to the city's chief physician Timo Lukkarinen.

"As I understand it, ticket sales were normal that day. The problem is that people don't remember to keep safe distances when they're waiting in queues," Lukkarinen said.

Like other amusement parks around the country this year, Linnanmäki opened later than usual, due to coronavirus-related restrictions. At the time, theme parks said they planned to implement precautionary measures like limiting the number of admissions and maintaining a safe distance in queues for rides.

Linnanmäki's CEO, Pia Adlivankin, apologised for the concern the incident may have caused customers.

"This season we have voluntarily limited visitor capacity to about half of normal. We track visitor numbers in real time and throughout the season we have been able to keep simultaneous visitors below 7,000. Additionally, we have taken serious measures to ensure healthy entertainment," Adlivankin said, explaining that park staff would increasingly remind visitors about safe distancing.

Following months of restrictions during the spring, Finnish authorities gradually lowered the guidelines and recommendations as coronavirus infection rates dropped.

Last Thursday the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said the coronavirus infection rate was remaining steady in Finland, explaining that 51 new cases had been confirmed in the country over the past week - the same weekly total as in late June.

City issues recommendations

The city said that people who visited the park that on 26 July should follow their state of health particularly carefully, recommending that those with Covid-19 symptoms of to get tested for the disease.

Symptoms of a coronavirus infection include fever, cough, headache, nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath as well as loss of sense of smell or taste.

The city reported that Helsinki's coronavirus situation is under control, but said that a "small increase" of infections was seen during late July, but that day-to-day infection numbers were low.

The city release also noted however, that security measures need to be ramped up in the city, saying that there have been several cases of confirmed Covid-19 patients possibly exposing dozens of people during the last week alone, according to the city's chief physician of epidemiology Sanna Isosomppi.

"There has been a clear delay in applying for tests in many cases, especially when the disease presents itself with abdominal symptoms. As a result, there will be more exposure. Overall, however, people are currently doing really well in the tests," she said.