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Covid-19 shows signs of plateauing in Helsinki region

Officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) say there is still reason to be cautious.

The health ministry's Chief Medical Officer Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki with THL Chief Physician Otto Helve. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations show signs of plateauing, especially in the Helsinki area, according to officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

At the weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday morning, THL Chief Physician Otto Helve said thatalthough the disease has not yet peaked in Europe, it would appear that the recent rise in infections in Finland is beginning to level out. The weekly case numbers in Finland have not increased, Helve said at the press conference.

The latest infection firgures also indicate that Covid may have peaked in the Helsinki area, but Helve was hesitant to confirm this. In many areas in Finland, the peak may still lie ahead.

"This is not the time to let out a sigh of relief," Helve said.

Last week, the number of positive Covid cases in Finland was 52,000, down from 57,000 the week before. The intake of new intensive care patients also decreased by about 50 percent last week, according to Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health's (STM's) strategy director.

There is still reason to be cautious, as the number of hospital patients is high.

"We still have plenty of patients being treated in hospitals. But the number of intensive care patients has decreased slightly. There are signs of serious cases plateauing," said Helve.

When asked by a reporter when Covid-19 would be removed from the list of dangerous diseases, Taneli Puumalainen, director general at STM, responded that Covid remains on the list for legislative reasons, as it gives the country the tools to fight the disease using the full capacity of the law.

"If we remove it from the list of dangerous diseases, we will lose the tools [to fight it]. Therefore, I think it would make sense to continue considering it dangerous. Covid has constantly produced new surprises, with new variants of the virus," said Puumalainen.

In Finland, 51.4 percent of eligible recipients have received the third jab. In the over-60 population, nearly 87 percent have received all three vaccine doses. Out of the general population, 84.1 percent have received two vaccines.