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Coronavirus latest: 645 new cases, Finland announces partial shutdown

This article brings you the latest updates on the novel coronavirus pandemic in Finland.

Hoitaja ojentaa koronatestipuikkoa.
Health care worker administering coronavirus test, file photo. Image: Mari Kahila / Yle
  • 57,052 lab-confirmed infections as of Saturday 27.2 (up by 645 since Friday)
  • 742 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Friday 26.2 (up by 2 since Thursday)
  • 210 people in hospital, 38 of them in intensive care as of Friday 26.2
  • 361,744 people (6.5% of the population) had received at least one vaccination dose as of 27.2
  • THL reports on Covid-related fatalities and hospital patient statistics on weekdays

27.2 12:16 Justice Minister: Finland preparing for curfew as situation worsens

Finland's Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson told Yle's Ykkösaamu morning tv show on Saturday that preparations are being made to introduce a curfew in the country under the Emergency Powers Act if the coronavirus situation continues to deteriorate.

Read more on this story here.

27.2 12:05 Finland reports 645 new cases

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has registered 645 new lab-confirmed coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing Finland's overall total since the beginning of the pandemic to 57,052.

Of the new infections, 384 were diagnosed in the Helsinki University Hospital District. The second highest number of infections, 73, was reported in the hospital district of Southwest Finland while the third highest was found in the hospital district in Northern Ostrobothnia, with 26.

Finland has reported a total of 7,045 new infections over the past two weeks, which is about 1,900 more cases than over the previous two week period.

27.2 10:23 MP diagnosed with coronavirus

Member of Parliament Eeva-Johanna Eloranta has been diagnosed with a coronavirus infection, according to a Parliament press release Parliament on Saturday. Parliament's Occupational Health Centre and the City of Helsinki's Infection Unit have launched follow-up investigations to determine possible exposures.

26.2 20:34 Capital region tightens measures - but ministry says not enough

Authorities in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area have further tightened restrictions aimed at tackling the spread of coronavirus in the region, but the measures have been criticised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) as not going far enough.

Read more on this story here.

26.2 17:49 Minister: State support for events industry

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Cen) said on Friday that the government will reimburse event industry firms for cancellations caused by coronavirus restrictions.

Read more here.

26.2 16:10 Authorities suspect fake Covid test certs behind Rauma outbreak

Health authorities in the Satakunta region suspect falsified coronavirus test certificates may have led to a major coronavirus outbreak at a shipyard in the city of Rauma.

There is more on this story here.

26.2 13:54 PM Marin: No return to normal after shutdown

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) told Yle on Friday that life in Finland won’t return to normal immediately after the March shutdown, adding that most of the new restrictions announced on Thursday will continue.

Read more on this story here.

26.2 13:00 Finland hits new daily coronavirus record with 720 cases

Public health institute THL on Friday reported 720 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases--a new daily record for Finland. In the last 14 days the country has reported 1,665 more cases than in the previous two-week period.

26.2 10:50 Cases won't decrease for months, expert says

Veli-Matti Ulander, chief administrative physician at Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS), said new infections would only begin declining closer to May Day.

"The worst situation for hospitals could be at the end of March and during Easter, unfortunately," Ulander said.

The heightened restrictions, referred to by officials as a partial shutdown, were announced by the government on Thursday.

More on this story here.

26.2 9:21 Papers: School exposures, vaccines for teachers and jab queue

Among other topics in Friday's newspaper review, we learned that experts are concerned about the risk of secondary school pupils bringing coronavirus infections to classrooms after this week's winter holidays.

25.2 19:50 Incorrect vaccine doses given in Pirkanmaa

Around 50 people vaccinated in the town of Nokia will need to be revaccinated as they were given doses that were too small. Those affected will be contacted in person.

Using the so-called 'air bubble technique', shown at official vaccine training sessions, it is possible for vaccinators to inadvertently underdose when using the Pfizer and Biontech vaccine.

According to Katja Ylitolva, medical director at the town of Nokia, the incorrect doses were administered only on 24 February.

More on this story here.

25.2 17:30 How will the new shutdown affect you?

On Thursday, the government announced that Finland is about to enter a three-week shutdown, beginning on 8 March.

This means that in the areas where the virus is in the 'spreading' and 'acceleration' stages, an immediate transition to the stricter 'Tier 2' measures is recommended.

These tougher 'Tier 2' measures will apply to seven areas: Helsinki and Uusimaa, Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Kanta-Häme, Vaasa, Åland and Lapland.

The government also recommended for hospital districts in the acceleration stage to impose restrictions effective immediately.

These areas are East Savo, South Karelia, Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Päijät-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, North Ostrobothnia, South Ostrobothnia and Kymenlaakso.

Read how the new shutdown will affect you here.

25.2 16:10 Tallink reports 108 million euro loss and 3,000 layoffs in 2020

Estonian ferry and shipping company Tallink lost 108.3 million euros in 2020, according to financial results published on Thursday.

The Helsinki–Stockholm route, operated by the company's Silja Line brand, was among those put on hold as the virus spread last year.

Read more here.

25.2 12:05 Case figures jump in Finland, 565 new cases on Thursday

Finland recorded another 565 confirmed Covid cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 55,687 since the start of the pandemic. Thursday's cases are concentrated in Uusimaa, which recorded some 366 of them.

At the weekly briefing on Covid, officials announced that in the week beginning on 15 February prevalence jumped to 62 cases per 100,000 residents. The previous week, that figure had been 46 per 100,000 residents.

Officials said that non-urgent procedures had been postponed in Helsinki because of the increased numbers of Covid patients in hospitals, and caseloads were increasing at hospitals nationwide.

The majority of infections are among working-age people, especially young adults. Of all cases, some 80 percent were detected among people aged under 50 and around 45 percent among people aged under 30.

Cases among those aged over 60 accounted for nine percent of the total, and the over-70s made up three percent of all cases.

Some 11,000 people were ordered to quarantine last week, which is some 2,700 more than during the previous week.

As of 22 February there had been some 690 cases of mutated Covid variants in Finland, with 660 of those the British variant.

Of those, some 529 were recorded in the Helsinki region.

25.2 10:38 Lockdown announced

Finland has announced expanded Covid control measures, including more remote learning for some pupils and a three-week shutdown for pubs and restaurants starting on 8 March. Read more here.

25.2 08:40 Papers: Another state of emergency?

Thursday morning's papers look ahead to a government coronavirus press conference scheduled for 09:30 this morning, with the expectation that the country is about to enter a state of emergency like the one last spring.

Elsewhere, Iltalehti raises the prospect of faster coronavirus testing, as a Finnish lab introduces portable equipment that can analyse PCR tests onsite.

You can read more about these stories and more here.

Previous updates available here.

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