Saturday. 22.02.2020
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Chinese tourists tests for coronavirus detection negative

The flu-like symptoms suffered by a father and a son who came to Finland from the city of Wuhan (where the outbreak of the disease began) triggered the alarm on Thursday.
Chinese tourists tests for coronavirus detection negative

Finns can now breathe easy, without fear of getting a coronavirus infection. At least for now.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) confirmed on Friday evening that the two cases of people suspected of carrying the new coronavirus discovered in Lapland have tested negative for the disease.

These are two Chinese tourists, a father and son who have been on vacation for several days in Lapland. They arrived in Finland via Norway and they have been travelling in Lapland for several days.

On Thursday evening they went to a health centre in Ivalo to request treatment against a suspected respiratory infection.

Their flu-like symptoms, and the fact that they come from the city of Wuhan (where outbreak of the disease began), triggered the alarms in the small Lappish town. Both have been in quarantine, waiting for the results of the tests carried out today in Helsinki.

“Individual cases of Wuhan coronavirus related to international mobility and tourism are possible in Finland. Rapid identification of potential outbreaks is important for effective control measures to reduce the risk of further infections, ”said Taneli Puumalainen, Chief Medical Officer of THL 

Recommendations for travelers

THL published in its website a set of recommendations for tourists travelling to China. In general, those consist in maintaining good hand hygiene and avoid in particular close contact with people that have a respiratory infection.

Markets that sell animals (live or dead) for human consumption, close contact with wild or domestic animals or their feces and liquids should also be avoided.

It is also recommended not to eat uncooked or poorly cooked meat, unpasteurised milk products and products containing these, unwashed fruit and vegetables.

So far, the WHO has not recommended any trade or travel restrictions.

“Instead of screening at the airport, it is better to focus on guiding tourists to research and treatment when needed,” says Puumalainen.

What to do if you have symptoms

THL admits that individual cases among tourists may appear also in Finland. If that happens, rapid identification is crucial in order to prevent further infections.

If you have traveled in the city of Wuhan and develop a fever and respiratory symptoms within 14 days of returning from the trip, first contact your health centre or health care emergency clinic by phone. From there you will receive instructions on how to seek treatment.

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