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Woman in Helsinki tests positive for novel coronavirus

The Finnish female who tested positive for Covid-19 has a fever but is in good condition, hospital officials say.

Huslab Tullinpuomin kyltti Helsingissä.
Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) sign. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

A Finnish woman has tested positive for novel coronavirus, officials at Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) said early Wednesday evening.

The patient, described as a woman of working age, was likely exposed to the virus during a trip to northern Italy's city of Milan, according to the hospital.

Earlier on Wednesday Italy confirmed the 12th fatality of a coronavirus patient, and that the number of cases has risen to 378 up from 6 since last Friday, according to English language Italian news outlet The Local.

HUS, THL offer more info

HUS and the National Institute for Health and Welfare held a press conference on Wednesday evening. HUS hospital's chief physician, Asko Järvinen, said the female Finnish national had been on a trip to Milan and returned to Finland on Sunday.

The next day, she contacted the hospital and was given a lab test.

Järvinen said the woman is in good condition and had only been in contact with two other people since returning to Finland, saying that the hospital has been in contact with those individuals.

Järvinen later noted that the two people who'd been in contact with the woman were staying at home and that their physical conditions were being monitored. Neither of the individuals had shown Covid-19 symptoms, according to Järvinen.

"Very low risk in Finland"

Järvinen also told Yle the risk of contracting the virus in Finland was very low.

"HUS's preparedness is very good right now. There is no risk of coming down with the illness in Finland. The virus won't spread widely here. The risk is small," Järvinen said.

The chief physician said that the hospital has increased its preparedness to deal with possibly taking in more novel coronavirus patients, if such cases arise.

The woman did not travel on a direct flight from Finland to Italy, according to THL's chief medical officer Taneli Puumalainen.

Puumalainen said THL plans to release further details regarding the woman's journey from Italy to Finland, as well as reach out to individuals who travelled with the woman who may have been exposed to the virus on Thursday.

This story was updated to include comments from HUS hospital's chief physician, Asko Järvinen and THL's chief medical officer Taneli Puumalainen at 7:05pm 26 February 2020.

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