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THL expert: At least 200 coronavirus infections linked to restaurants and bars

Forty infections may have originated at a single Helsinki bar, according to the THL's chief physician.

Ravintolassa ihmisiä juo olutta.
Finland has announced a temporary restriction on the opening hours of bars and restaurants, starting 8 October. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

At least 200 of the confirmed coronavirus infections between August and September have been linked to restaurants and bars, Taneli Puumalainen, chief physician at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare said during Yle’s A-studio television discussion programme on Wednesday evening.

"It is difficult to say with absolute certainty where the infections come from. However, there is a strong probability that a couple of hundred infections have occurred at restaurants in the last two months," Puumalainen said.

According to the THL expert, nearly 40 infections had been linked to a single Helsinki establishment. The infectious cluster from the restaurant has continued to grow since mid-September. Puumalainen however did not name the establishment.

The APN podcast breaks down the news on bars and restaurants this week.You can listen to the full podcast on the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Story continues after audio

With case counts rising, we reported that Finland wants to close pubs early, looked at hockey crowds during the pandemic and asked if we really live in 'Finntopia'. Audio: Yle

"We know that there are clusters where there have been dozens of people who have been infected in a very short time," Puumalainen said.

Earlier in the week, the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa criticised the government's decision to slap restaurants and bars with curfews — establishments across the country must stop serving alcohol at 12 am and clear the premises by 1 am.

Bars in the Helsinki region are expected to be forced to close at 11 pm and stop serving alcohol at 10 pm.

The restrictions will take effect on 8 October.

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