Despite previous fears that the Christmas celebrations would increase the number of coronavirus cases, the numbers seem to improve.
According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the number and incidence of new Covid-19 cases and the number of patients requiring hospital care have decreased slightly since mid-December 2020.
However, new cases are still found widely across the country and health authorities say "it is worrying that people get tested more seldom than before."
On Thursday 14 January, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported 258 new cases and six deaths associated with the disease. To date, 39,593 infections and 616 deaths have been reported in Finland.
The majority of the new cases were of domestic origin. Cases where the virus was contracted abroad accounted for 11% of all new cases.
A turn for the worse
According to the government, the new COVID-19 variants found in the Great Britain and South Africa may be more transmissible and spread more rapidly. "It is therefore possible that the epidemic will take a sudden turn for the worse across the country," the Ministry says.
Measures are taken to stop the spread of infections and the virus variants to Finland by increasing testing at the borders and by issuing regional restrictions and recommendations.
Incidence of cases falling
It was feared that Christmas and New Year would increase the number of infections, but so far this has not happened. However, it is still possible that the consequences of people meeting up over the holidays will become apparent later.
During the first week of 2021, a total of 1,787 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing a decrease of about twenty cases from the previous week. More than half of these new cases were reported in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.
The total number of new cases in the last two-week period (28 December 2020–10 January 2021) was 3,538, which was 430 cases less than in the preceding two-week period. The incidence of new cases was 64 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period it was 72.
Less people in hospital care
Most of the new cases are still found in younger age groups and in working-age adults. The percentage of cases in the older age groups increased in November, but "this worrying development seems to have stopped for now," the Ministry says.
On 14 January, the total number of people requiring hospital care was 155. Of them, 29 were in intensive care.