Åland MP: ‘Local hospitals had time to prepare for coronavirus cases’

File picture of Åland Islands at Midsummer, showing flag / Credit: iStock

Two people, returning home, have tested positive for Covid-19 coronavirus in Åland.

It’s the first confirmed cases of coronavirus after 70 tests in the autonomous province, and local Member of Parliament Mats Löfström says hospitals have been anticipating this, and preparing for it.

“We know that they are two young adults and they have arrived from abroad, many Ålanders have been on skiing vacations to Austria and Italy and other places” explains Löfström in a phone interview.

“Everyone was expecting cases to appear also on Åland and the good things is having these cases only yesterday has given the local hospital time to prepare. They have been in the highest level of preparedness for a week already” he tells News Now Finland.

Although during the summer there thousands of small islands for private sailing boats to arrive in Åland, at this time of year the main ways in are at the main ferry port or by air.

File picture of MP Mats Löfström (SFP) / Credit: SFP

Ships and planes are still running, albeit with reduced services, to allow residents to return home. There is a recommendation that anyone coming from the Finnish mainland should self-quarantine for 14 days but that was already in place before any confirmed cases.

“No more restrictions are needed, because no mainland Finns would fly here. Nobody is coming” says Löfström.

Like every other part of Finland, Ålanders are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their economy.

“I would say there is a big concern mainly for the economy which is based on shipping and transport and tourism, and those industries will take a severe hit” says Löfström.

“There’s great concern for the livelihood of hotels, restaurants and so on. Of course there is a general concern of the virus like everywhere in the world but most people are calm” he adds.

“There’s not much more you can do except follow the advice of the authorities, but keep calm and support the local community economy as best as you can, within the restrictions.”