Stora Enso plant in Oulu becomes coronavirus hotspot 

The company is embarking on another round of mass testing of all the workers in Oulu, with nobody allowed to return to their jobs until they get a negative result.

File picture showing inside of Oulu paper mill being converted to pulp board mill / Credit: Stora Enso

The Stora Enso paper mill in Oulu has become a Covid-19 hotspot after 150 workers there were found to have the virus.

Around 1,700 contractors are working to turn the paper mill into into a packaging board plant, at two sites near the city. At the end of November mass coronavirus testing was undertaken and 150 workers were confirmed with the virus.

Among those with the virus are 10 of Stora Enso’s own staff, although the majority of cases were in the workers contracted from outside companies including some foreign workers.

A Stora Enso spokesperson tells News Now Finland any workers coming from abroad were given Covid-19 tests before leaving their home countries, and then tested again on arrival in Finland.

The company says the infection chain broke out despite protocols in place to limit any contact between small teams of workers, and with mask protocols in effect.

“We don’t know the source of the infection. Infections appear to be concentrated around a board machine site, where about 600 people have worked in different shifts and groups” says Juha Mäkimattila, Director of Stora Enso’s Oulu plant.

“We have also required our subcontractors to provide accurate guidance and monitoring to comply with quarantine regulations. We appeal to every individual that strict safety instructions are also followed in their free time” he adds.

A new round of testing involving almost 2,000 people is currently taking place, and workers can only return to their jobs after negative results.