"Health security and preparedness for possible epidemics and pandemics are good in Finland according to international assessment. Our health system is prepared to prevent, identify and treat infectious diseases, including the new coronavirus,” said Krista Kiuru, the Finnish Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, at the video meeting of EU health ministers on 7 February.
The EU health ministers discussed the global situation with the new coronavirus and, in particular, the situation in the EU area. They also discussed preparedness in the EU if an epidemic caused by the new coronavirus were to spread to Europe.
According to the information released by the Finnish Government, member states' representatives gave an overview of the situation from the point of view of preparedness. EU member states' assessments of the situation and preparedness measures are largely consistent. The discussion will continue next week, on 13 February, at an extraordinary meeting of EU health ministers in Brussels.
Finnish Government says the country is prepared to examine patients and samples and treat those infected with coronavirus in isolation conditions in hospitals and to protect others from infection.
“We can count on the actions of municipalities and hospital districts in the combat against infectious diseases, including the coronavirus. A good indication of this is that the illness of an individual Chinese tourist in Lapland was identified and dealt with quickly. The preparedness arrangements worked, and the person was able to get home after treatment in isolation ", Kiuru said.
"The Government will closely monitor the situation globally together with various authorities. We are quickly informed of any changes in the situation. Above all, we are prepared for rapid changes,” Kiuru said.
More individual cases possible
However, Finnish health authorities say other individual cases of the disease are possible in Finland. "It is important that potential cases are quickly identified so that effective control measures can reduce the risk of further infections," the Government stressed.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) are monitoring the situation internally and also cooperating internationally to prevent the spread of the virus with the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Like many other infectious diseases, coronavirus can best prevented by washing hands well with water and soap. If water and soap are not available, alcoholic hand disinfectant may be used instead.
Authorities also recommend sneezing on the sleeve, not on the hands.