51 new coronavirus infections detected in Finland
Security authorities are preparing for the spread of the disease. Suspected infections detected during border checks will be directed to healthcare services. The Government may decide to close a certain border crossing point when there is a risk. The Border Guard also can prevent individuals from entering Finland if they are deemed to pose a threat to public health.
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported on Friday that 51 further coronavirus infections have been diagnosed in Finland in the last 24 hours. With these, to date, 155 cases of coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) have been diagnosed in the country since the crisis started.
The recent increase in the number of cases (101 new diagnoses in just two days) has led the Ministry of the Interior to announce measures to guarantee that the agencies responsible for public security (Police, Border Guard and Emergency Center) can carry out their work in an epidemic environment.
The new cases reported on Friday
At least 51 new coronavirus infections have been identified, according to THL.
- There were 24 cases in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District.
- There are 7 cases in the Hospital District of Southwest Finland.
- There are 5 cases in the Pirkanmaa Hospital District.
- There are 6 cases in the Central Finland Hospital District.
- There are 5 cases in Satakunta Hospital District.
- There are 2 cases in the Kanta-Häme Hospital District.
- 1 case in the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District.
- 1 case in Vaasa Hospital District.
Finnish health authority emphasized that Covid-19 testing is done around the clock, so it is possible that not all the cases reported in the previous day may be included in the following day's statistics.
Hospital districts and local health authorities will continue to investigate the situation together with THL.
Security authorities prepared
The Ministry of the Interior informed on Friday that authorities responsible for internal security "are prepared for the spread of the coronavirus." They are looking after everyday security in Finland.
The Ministry of the Interior has instructed its staff to take protective measures so that the activities of the police, border control, emergency response centres, rescue services and the Finnish Immigration Service can continue as smoothly as possible.
According to the Government, the plans also include preparations for a situation where some of the employees are ill.
"Internal security authorities play an important role in creating everyday security in Finland. In the administrative branch of the Ministry of the Interior, preparations have been made to intensify cooperation between the authorities and to act in accordance with the recommendations of the health authorities," says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.
Border Guard working with the health authorities
In its announcement, the Government advised the public to avoid non-essential travel. Members of the public must monitor and comply with travel instructions, and a travel notification must be made in the case of absolutely necessary travel. Measures are being taken to ensure that travel information is up-to-date and Coronavirus Info Points are being extended to Finland’s land borders.
As a general rule, any suspected infections detected during border checks will be directed to healthcare services. So far, no suspected cases have been detected at border crossing points.
Where it is deemed necessary, for instance to prevent a serious threat to public health, the Government may decide to close a certain border crossing point for a fixed period or until further notice. In addition, the Border Guard has the possibility of preventing individuals from entering Finland if they are considered to pose a threat to public health.
The entry of a Finnish citizen, however, may not be prevented.
If, in the event of a worsening epidemic, foreign persons from a particular country or region were to be prevented from entering Finland, this would require a separate decision by the health authorities.
Cross-border traffic between Finland and the rest of the EU is not regularly monitored. It is not possible to reintroduce border controls temporarily at the EU’s internal borders due to a risk to public health. Internal border checks may be reinstated on the basis of a serious threat to public order or internal security; for example, if the healthcare system is at risk of collapse.
Police will carry out their urgent duties
The police maintain an up-to-date picture of the situation and have just updated their contingency plans.
Police employees have been instructed on preventive measures and on cases of exposure. If the Government makes decisions relating to the coronavirus outbreak, the police are prepared to implement them within the limits of their powers.
Rescue services and emergency response centres provide security in everyday emergencies
Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that rescue services are prepared for the spread of the coronavirus.
If you suspect that you or someone else has been infected with or exposed to the coronavirus, you should not call the emergency number 112.
For instructions on treatment, please contact the national helpline at 0295 535 535 and your health centre.