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Coronavirus latest: Cases surpass 40k

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

Sote-henkilöstölle annettiin koronavirusrokotteita Helsingissä 4. tammikuuta 2021.
A Helsinki nurse rolls her sleeve up for Pfizer's Covid jab. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
  • 40,101 lab-confirmed infections as of Saturday 16.1 (up by 190 since Friday)
  • 618 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Friday 15.1
  • 145 people in hospital, 28 of them in intensive care as of Friday 15.1
  • THL reports on Covid-related fatalities and hospital patient statistics on weekdays

16.1 13:35 Virologist calls for tougher border measures

Helsinki University virologist Olli Vapalahti told Yle’s Ykkösaamu talk show on Saturday that it was crucial for Finland to stop mutations from crossing the border into the country.

"Stricter testing and control measures at the border are necessary," Vapalahti told Yle.

As of Friday, Finland had traced more than 60 Covid infections to new virus variants.

More on this story here.

16.1 11:50 Finland records 190 new cases

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Saturday registered 190 new coronavirus infections in Finland over the past 24 hours, bringing total cases to 40,101 since last spring.

The highest number of new cases were reported in the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) with 91 infections, followed by hospital districts in southwest Finland (33) and Pirkanmaa (11).

As of Friday, 145 people are in hospital for Covid-related complications. While new infections have levelled off in the past few weeks, officials are worried about the spread of new coronavirus variants. On Friday THL said Finland had traced 64 infections to a new Covid-19 variant.

15.1 16:51 HUS says epidemic at a turning point in Finland

The Helsinki University hospital district's coronavirus briefing was held on Friday morning, and it touched on low testing rates, new variants and changes to quarantine guidance. You can read our write-up of the briefing here.

15.1 15:55 THL: Pfizer vaccine delays to affect Finland

Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer is upgrading its coronavirus vaccine production capacity which will temporarily reduce deliveries in Europe, according to Reuters news agency.

Svenska Yle reported on Friday that the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) confirmed there will also be delays in getting the Pfizer vaccine to Finland.

Pfizer said that it needed to revamp the vaccine's production due to high demand.

Norway has been awaiting the arrival of a batch of nearly 44,000 Pfizer vaccine doses due next week, but according to local health authorities in the Scandinavian country, only about 36,000 doses are actually scheduled to arrive by that time.

15.1 15:02 Union slams care home mask shortage

Nurses union SuPer has said that staff at a nursing home in Tampere have not been given proper protective equipment. The home has seen at least thirteen deaths due to coronavirus in an outbreak that began in December.

The local municipality runs the home and told Yle that it had followed national guidance on PPE. Our story is here.

15.1 12:02 Finland reports 318 new cases on Friday

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has registered 318 new coronavirus infections in Finland over the past 24 hours, bringing the overall total since the beginning of the pandemic to 39,911.

The highest number of latest cases were reported in the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS), with 138 infections.

15.1 11:12 Two more deaths at Kouvola care centre

A total of five patients at the Lautaranta care centre in Kouvola have died of coronavirus-related complications amid a localised outbreak at the facility, authorities announced on Friday.

In addition, a total of 40 coronavirus infections have been confirmed -- 13 staff and 27 patients.

15.1 11:06 Quarter of recent infections in Pirkanmaa linked to bars, restaurants

About a quarter of the recent coronavirus infections diagnosed in the Pirkanmaa area, which is home to the city of Tampere, have been traced to local bars and restaurants, according to officials from Tampere University Hospital (TAYS).

There is more on this story here.

14.1 18:52 Construction federation seeks testing of foreign workers

The Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries (RT) will recommend that its member companies require a negative coronavirus test result from each worker arriving from outside the country.

The move comes in response to the more-infectious strain of the virus that was first detected in England and may have been brought to Finland by Estonian labourers, among others.

Read more here.

14.1 16:01 APN Podcast: Vaccinating Finland

In this week's podcast we asked vaccine experts and scientists what we can expect from Finland's vaccine rollout, where the National Coalition party might go looking for votes ahead of the local elections, and how Finland has handled this week's cold snap.

You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Audio: Yle

14.1 12:22 Finland reports 258 new cases

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported 258 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Finland on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 39,593.

14.1 11:20 Travel restrictions, further border checks on the way

Finland will be introducing tighter restrictions on travel, including the possibility of testing at all sea and land border crossings, but the exact details will not be known until a proposal prepared by the Interior Ministry is ratified by government.

Speaking at the weekly coronavirus briefing, Family Affairs and Social Services Minister Krista Kiuru (SDP) said the government discussed the introduction of new measures at a lengthy ministerial meeting at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Wednesday evening, but no decisions have yet been made.

"The new coronavirus variant is a matter of great concern," Kiuru said. "As in the spring, there is a great deal of uncertainty, and things that are not known. The threat of an accelerated risk is obvious."

14.1 9:15 Papers: Tighter border controls likely

Finland's press on Thursday morning is full of speculation that the government of PM Sanna Marin (SDP) is preparing to impose tightened travel restrictions, stopping just about any cross-border traffic other than essential business travel, in order to curb the potential spread of new variants of the coronavirus.

Read more on this story, and the rest of our paper review, here.

Read previous updates here.

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