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HUS boss: Covid restrictions might not be enough

Finland tightened restrictions on Tuesday.

HUS manager Lasse Lehtonen. Image: Antti Haanpää / Yle

The diagnostics director of the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district, Lasse Lehtonen, welcomed the government's new restrictions and rules aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, but said he feared the measures may not be enough because the Omicron variant is so contagious.

Lehtonen noted that testing capacity was inadequate and the variant's effect has not been modeled in Finland.

"We have a period of increasing infections. The need for intensive care will be seen in a couple of weeks," he said, speaking on Yle TV1's breakfast show on Wednesday.

However, Lehtonen said he thinks that the Christmas break will be a good thing, as it will reduce the number of contacts between people.

On the other hand, he said that new rules aimed at the people crossing the country's borders were not relevant as there are so many cases of the Omicron variant in Finland already.

"Hope decisions were made in time"

Meanwhile, Professor of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Matti Reinikainen, praised the government's plans.

"Very good decisions. I hope they were made in time," he told TV1's morning programme on Wednesday.

According to Reinikainen, the new measures were needed because the country's specialised care is on its way to the worst crisis seen during peacetime.

There were 63 Covid patients in ICU wards around the country as of Monday, that figure dropped to 59 on Wednesday, two days ahead of the Christmas holiday.

He said because of the break, staffing levels within public healthcare are minimal and the period will be very challenging at hospitals.