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100 conscripts begin military service in quarantine

Quarantine has been mandated for conscripts who have travelled overseas or who have exhibited mild respiratory symptoms.

Miehet tulossa armeijaan.
Conscripts reporting for military service at the Karelian Air Command on Monday, 6 July. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

Roughly 100 conscripts in Finland have begun their military service in quarantine due to the coronavirus epidemic. They have been placed in isolation at home or in separate facilities at army garrisons.

"Conscripts have been ordered to begin their military service separate from others either at home or at Defence Force quarters as a precaution, due to overseas travel or because of mild symptoms," Defence Command communications unit deputy head Lt. Colonel Juusi Puustinen wrote to Yle.

So far 90 coronavirus tests have been administered to conscripts with mild respiratory symptoms. All of the test results have been negative to date, however some test results are still pending.

A total of about 12,000 conscripts began military service on Monday. They were all required to participate in a so-called "corona survey". Respondents who had visited Haparanda in northeast Sweden (Haaparanta in Finnish) to purchase snus, were automatically required to quarantine for two weeks.

According to Major Marko Kontkanen, head of the Karelian Air Command security unit, military officials will evaluate the service eligibility of conscripts who test positive for the virus as well as when they might be able to serve.

In such cases, the military might defer the start of their military service.

"There is no information about how long a conscript can be sick with the disease. If a conscript is ill for a long time, they could fall behind in training," Kontkanen said.

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