Sunday 31.05.2020

Only 20% of coronavirus cases in Finland linked to tourism

Since 27 March, 8,837 health checks have been carried out at the Helsinki airport. Most of the cases related to tourism were imported from Austria.

Helsinki airport. Photo: Finavia.
Helsinki airport. Photo: Finavia.

Since March 27, health authorities have carried out health checks on passengers at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport.

According to data from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, in its Finnish acronym), by the end of April, 8,837 passengers had completed the mandatory questionnaire in which they were asked about whether they have coronavirus symptoms. Of those, only 204 reported symptoms of a respiratory infection. 

Surveillance revealed 9 coronavirus infections that were later confirmed.

“Based on the figures, it seems that coronavirus infections are quite rarely found through surveillance at the airport. It is possible that some tourists will not get symptoms until later. Therefore, it is important to follow the official instructions and apply for the test as soon as symptoms occur,” says Taneli Puumalainen, THL's chief physician . 

Most tourism-related cases from Austria

To date, according to THL figures, approximately 45% of all coronavirus infections detected in Finland have been reported to the Infectious Diseases Register by a doctor. And about 20% percent of the cases reported by doctors are related to tourism. 

THL says about 7% of those cases were imported from Austria. Other common countries of origin of infections are Italy (about 3% of reported cases) and Spain (about 2%). 

“The majority of the cases found in March were from abroad. But in April the proportion of infections acquired abroad fell to less than 5%, as travel has been very limited in recent weeks, ”says Puumalainen.