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Covid hotspot Lahti awaits extra vaccines, police break up park parties

Lahti, the city with the highest number of new infections on Saturday, is to receive more vaccine doses next week.

Vappu Lahdessa. Kuvassa Pikku-Vesijärvi ja opiskelijat.
Youngsters celebrating May Day at Lahti's Lake Vesijärvi (file photo). Image: Tuija Veirto / Yle

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has decided to allocate 13,200 coronavirus vaccine doses next week to Päijät-Häme, which includes Lahti, and Southwest Finland, which includes Turku.

Over the past two weeks, 111 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants have been diagnosed in Päijät-Häme and 101 in Southwest Finland.

According to a government decision, it is possible this month to target vaccines to areas with a two-week incidence rate of over 100.

The Lahti Region's healthcare consortium Päijät-Sote, said on Friday that an additional 5,000 doses would be delivered to the area next week.

Daily cases below 300 for nearly a month

On Saturday the THL identified south-central Lahti as the city with the highest number of new coronavirus infections, 27. Tampere and Helsinki each reported 18 cases.

Although more infections were detected in Lahti than Helsinki, the region with the highest number of infections was still the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS), where 48 new infections were diagnosed. In the Päijät-Häme district, 31 new infections were detected.

Nationwide, the THL reported 192 new cases since Friday. There were 390 fewer new cases during the past two weeks than during the previous fortnight. The daily number of new cases has remained below 300 since 18 April.

The incidence rate of infections has continued to decline nationally, falling to 51 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks.

"Young people partying loudly"

Late Friday, Lahti police broke up a party involving many youngsters around Sibelius Hall, a local landmark on the shores of Lake Vesijärvi.

According to a Häme Police statement on Saturday, "about 200 young people were partying loudly in the area. Individuals were removed from piers, terraces of closed restaurants, and building roofs."

An assault charge was filed over a fight between two men in their early twenties, one of whom required hospitalisation. A woman of around the same age was found driving with a blood alcohol content well over twice the permitted level.

Besides disturbing local residents, the youthful revellers were violating the coronavirus ban on gatherings of more than six people in the Päijät-Häme region.

For a second night running, police in Lahti again broke up large, rowdy gatherings of young people in violation of coronavirus restrictions late Saturday. Häme police say that some 250 youngsters were engaged in disruptive behaviour in Lahti's port district and a nearby park, with loud noise and fights breaking out.

On Thursday, Veli-Matti Ulander, chief administrative physician of HUS, warned that crowds gathering in parks could lead to a spike in coronavirus infections.

16.5: Updated with police report from Saturday night

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