THL: False alarm over suspected Wuhan coronavirus cases in Lapland

The tourists from Wuhan sought medical treatment in Ivalo after suffering from flu-like symptoms.

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File picture of shopping street in Wuhan, October 2018 / Credit: iStock

The National Institute for Health and Welfare THL says that two suspected cases of Wuhan coronavirus turned out to be false alarms.

Two members of the same family, recently arrived from Wuhan in China, showed up at Ivalo health centre in Lapland on Thursday evening with flu-like symptoms.

A senior medical official told News Now Finland that one of the patients had normal flu symptoms, while the other felt tired and sick but didn’t have any specific throat pain or runny nose.

The father and son tourists were put into isolation and blood tests taken, but they came back negative for the new coronavirus strain which originated in Wuhan.

File picture of scientist looking at bacteria cultures / Credit: iStock

Still a risk for the spread of the virus

Three cities in China – Wuhan, Ezhou and Hubei – have imposed restrictions on travelers with Wuhan effectively locked down as the virus spreads.

There are more than 1200 confirmed cases in China and 41 deaths in total; and the first cases of the virus have been confirmed now in France.

“Individual cases of Wuhan coronavirus related to international mobility and tourism are possible in Finland” explains Taneli Puumalainen, THL’s Chief Medical officer.

“Rapid identification of outbreaks is important for effective control measures to reduce the risk of further infections” he adds.

Authorities in Finland say they’re well prepared for any spread of the infection here, but have ruled out health screenings on arriving passengers at Finnish airports as inefficient.

“When it comes to the situation in China we don’t have plans for entry screening of passengers” says Jussi Sane, an expert virologist at THL.

“It would be a massive operation and the World Health Organisation recommends that full-scale screening is not very effective, it can lead to a lot of false positives” he told News Now Finland in an interview earlier this week.

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