Finnish health authorities are searching for 18 passengers who entered Finland by bus from Russia on 8 September.
The reason is that a person traveled aboard the vehicle who the next day was diagnosed with coronavirus. Of the 51 people who were on board the bus, only 32 have been contacted, as explained in a statement by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, in its Finnish acronym).
According to the health agency, the bus left the city of St Petersburg on Tuesday 8 September and arrived the same day in the Finnish coastal town of Hamina, approximately 145 kilometres east of the country's capital Helsinki, in the Kymenlaakso region.
The infected person began to develop the first symptoms of the Covid-19 disease the day after the trip. After seeking medical help, the patient was tested for coronavirus and the test came back positive.
Russia is the fourth country in the world with the highest number of diagnosed Covid-19 cases (1.069 million), after the United States, India and Brazil.
Situation "significantly worse"
THL says authorities have been able to contact 32 of the 51 people that traveled in the same bus but they are still trying to gather contact details for the remaining 18. Exposed people can be quarantined, in accordance with current regulations.
"The coronavirus situation in Russia is significantly worse than in Finland. Staying in such a country increases the risk of coronavirus infection compared to the risk in Finland. Everyone should carefully consider whether it is now necessary to travel between Russia and Finland," says THL's expert Jari Lavala.
Passengers from Russia will receive instructions from THL and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) on how to reduce the risk of infections. A 14-day quarantine is recommended for those arriving from a the neighboring country, which Finland included in the category of 'high risk' places.