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Conscript union concerned as Covid infections pass 2,186 in a fortnight

Covid is spreading fast in barracks around Finland. 

Covid patient, Under-seargeant Otto Pesonen is in isolation in the sports hall at Vekaranjärvi barracks, along with around a hundred other soldiers. Image: Otto Pesosen kotialbumi.

Since the start of the year some 2,186 conscripted soldiers in Finnish military units have been infected with coronavirus.

Because of the Covid situation, a lot of conscripts have been unable to take leave for many weeks, according to their union. Some of them have been stuck on their military base for six weeks or more.

The union says spells of a month or more without leave are damaging to morale, especially if decisions can't be justified in a fair and consistent way.

The union is demanding that conscripts be given sufficient opportunities to rest and recuperate if they are confined to base without the normal time off given to recruits.

In addition, the same allowances should be made for healthy recruits who have been living in tents to enable proper isolation of infected individuals.

In total, the Defence Forces have recorded 2,463 Covid infections, including staff and conscripts.