The coronavirus epidemic in Finland continues to increase at an alarming rate.
On Friday, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported 1,114 new infections (496 found on Thursday and 618 on Friday), bringing to 23,766 the total number of cases diagnosed since the beginning of the pandemic.
In addition, THL reported 5 new deaths associated with the disease in the past 48 hours, 4 of them in the Helsinki region and 1 in the Oulu hospital catchment area. So far, 393 people have died from the Covid-19 disease in Finland.
New restrictions in Helsinki
Finnish authorities are particularly concerned about the situation in the capital region, which is where more cases of infection and deaths (305 to date) have occurred. According to the Helsinki health authority (HUS), the situation is especially worrying in the East Helsinki area, where a large proportion of immigrant population resides.
The authorities acknowledge that the country is experiencing perhaps its most complicated moment since the epidemic broke out. The Helsinki region and also that of Päijät-Hame (whose largest city is Lahti) have entered the community transmission (spreading) phase, which is equivalent to alert level 3 on the scale of 1-3 designed by THL.
Therefore, on Friday the mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, led a press conference to announce new restrictions on meetings and school and leisure activities.
More patients in hospitals
On Friday, the number of people hospitalized due to Covid-19 disease again increased to 152, which is 18 more than last Wednesday, when THL published its previous updated report. The number of patients admitted to intensive care units decreased from 21 to 19.
The country's incidence of cases also increased during the last two days. According to THL it was 83.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks. According to the website of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), at the time of writing this article the number was 83.5 per 100,000 residents.
However, the situation is very different depending on the region.
In the area of the capital city and its surroundings (Helsinki-Uusimaa), the most populated region of the country, the incidence doubles the national average, 170.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the preceding 14 days, according to THL.
In the midst of this worrying situation, Prime Minister Sanna Marin called this week on the population to comply with restrictions to avoid the adoption of harsher and more coercive measures, such as closures and fines.