THL: Coronavirus cases “have risen slightly”; as minister considers work from home orders

An increase in cases to levels last seen at the beginning of June comes as the government and agencies prepare a raft of new measures to help slow the spread of a possible 2nd coronavirus wave.

File picture of Health Minister Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left) / Credit: VNK

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL reports that nationwide the coronavirus epidemic situation remains stable but the number of cases “have risen slightly.”

The comment comes as Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left) writes that she’s asked for a new assessment on instructions about working from home. With the number of Covid-19 cases on the rise Pekonen says it’s necessary to look again at remote working recommendations. The previous directive urging people to work remotely expired at the beginning of August, but many continue to do their jobs at home where possible.

According to THL over the last day another 29 coronavirus cases were confirmed (the previous day the figure had increased by 17) with around 4,400 Covid-19 tests done.

There were no new deaths, and no new hospital admissions, and the one person previously reported in intensive care has now been released. Only hospitals in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District and in Southwest Finland are treating currently treating coronavirus patients.

Over the last week from 27th July to 2nd August there wee 74 new Covid-19 cases detected in Finland which is 1.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In the week before that from 20th July to 26th July there were only 53 new cases, corresponding to 1.0 cases per 100,000 population.

Ministry, agencies, preparing new rules to counter second wave

The new rise in cases comes as the Ministry of Health is preparing to tighten up some coronavirus rules in anticipation of a second wave of infections. At least some orders are expected to come on Thursday.

In an interview with Helsingin Sanomat, Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) says she’s ordered THL to draw up new recommendations on making it compulsory to wear face masks; to consider tighter controls on people coming back from at-risk countries to ensure they comply with self-isolation recommendations; and an increase in coronavirus testing capacity to 20,000 per day.

The government is also monitoring larger gatherings of up to 500 people, which are now permitted, to see if it has any negative impact on Covid-19 cases.

“It strongly seems that there may be different official instructions in use in different parts of Finland in the future” says Kiuru, noting that if there are different viral infection rates in Uusimaa compared to Eastern Finland there might be different recommendations on working from home, or going to school.