The coronavirus epidemic is "rapidly worsening in Finland," the government said on its latest weekly assessment of the situation across the country.
During the last two weeks, the number and incidence new of cases has increased considerably in almost all regions, a development that according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health requires "an immediate and proactive response."
Specifically, on Thursday the Ministry encouraged the regions to "adopt new effective ways to prevent infections and introduce yet more restrictive measures to stop the upward trend." According to the government, "it will take a few weeks before we can see the effects of the recommendations and restrictions" recently imposed by the authorities.
In its weekly report, the government implicitly acknowledges that it is currently facing a difficult problem: throughout the epidemic, the majority of new cases have been reported in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, but now the Covid-19 disease has become a real threat in all regions.
"There are now a lot of new cases in the rest of the country, too," remarks the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
5,620 new cases in 2 weeks
The total number of new cases in the last two-week period of assessment (16–29 November) was 5,620, which was 2,559 cases more than in the preceding two-week period.
"The rise in the incidence of new cases is particularly alarming: it was 101 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two-week compared to 55 cases per 100,000 inhabitant in the preceding two-week period," the Ministry says.
Nationally, the source of new cases of Covid-19 was known in around half of all cases, but only one in three sources were known in the Hospital District of Helsinki-Uusimaa.
Household transmission accounted for around 50% and occupational transmission for some 25% of all known sources of infection. The number of new cases associated with recreational activities showed a slight decrease at around 4%. Only some 2% of new cases were associated with bars or restaurants.
Some 5% of new cases were traced back to educational institutions and around 2% to early childhood education and care.
Young and working-age adults
The government issued a red flag to young people in its weekly assessment: Younger age groups and working-age adults still account for the majority of new cases. During the period of 23–29 November, people under 50 years of age accounted for around 75% of all cases and people under 30 years of age for nearly 40% of the cases.
Now, the government is especially concerned about what may happen to the elderly. According to the Ministry, the risk of contracting Covid-19 "will increase among older age groups with the worsening epidemiological situation."
During the period of 23–29 November, people aged over 60 accounted for around 12% of new cases and those over 70 for some 5%, compared to 8% and 3%, respectively, four weeks earlier.