More than 200 quarantined in Lapland, as small coronavirus cluster detected

Just three cases have been confirmed despite extensive testing, but doctors remain baffled about where the infection came from in the first place.

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Blood sample with respiratory coronavirus positive

Public health official say more than 200 people have been put into self-isolation as a precaution after a small cluster of positive coronavirus cases was detected in Lapland.

The three Rovaniemi Covid-19 cases are all part of the same infection chain, involving a man working in the Defence Forces; another adult working at a kindergarten who is understood to be a close contact but not a relative of the army patient; and then a child at the daycare.

But experts say they’re baffled about how the chain got started in the first place.

“We don’t recognise the origin, and we interviewed the adults” says Dr Markku Broas, Chief of Infections Unit at Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi.

“They don’t have any journey to Sweden, nor European countries, not even to the Helsinki capital area, so we don’t yet know the origin of those cases, and that’s why we decided to do quite many tests in the army, to contacts of the man, and also to the kindergarten where the other person was working” Broas tells News Now Finland.

In a first round of 100 tests at the kindergarten and among military personnel just that one additional positive case was found in a child. The Reindeer Path kindergarten where one of the patients worked has now been closed as a precaution.

Then, local officials took the decision in conjunction with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL to call for anyone who had been at the HopLop children’s play area in Rovaniemi last Thursday to come forward for testing and self-isolation, as the child who tested positive had also visited the activity park.

A total of 207 people have now been ordered into quarantine at home for 14 days.

“At this moment it’s only these three confirmed cases, it’s a very small amount. We made quite many tests in the same chain and haven’t found any new infections, and of course this is just a precaution putting these HopLop people into quarantine” says Dr Broas.

“But the risk from HopLop is much smaller than people, say, working in the same place for a long time as someone with coronavirus” he adds.