Corona infections spreading from Sweden to Finland – Infection Chief Markku Broas suggests cross-border commuting should be suspended

2020-03-28-205715 (Phone)In Lapland, it is suspected that coronavirus infections have begun to spread from Sweden to Finland.

The number of corona infections in Lapland has more than doubled in the last three days and it has not been possible to identify all the chains of infection. There are still relatively few infections compared to the situation in Finland as a whole

Some of the infections in recent days are suspected to be related to commuting. According to Markku Broaks, an infectious physician at Lapland Central Hospital, there are clear indications of this.

– Over the past week, we have clearly had several situations where there is a strong suspicion that the infection is related to Sweden.

In proportion to the population, the number of coronary infections in Norrbotten, Sweden, is about twice as high as in Finland.
Markku Broas Photo: Yle

Unlike other borders, in western Lapland commuting and family life in the two countries have been allowed to continue as before, even though unjustified traffic has been stopped. Other Finnish borders have been closed and commuting between Estonia and Finland has been suspended.

By Saturday, a total of 19 coronavirus infections had been diagnosed in the Lapland and Länsi-Pohja hospital districts. Of these, 13 are in the Lapland Hospital District and six in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District.

– It is a significant risk when a lot of people move across the border every day. Infections come from the Swedish side and cause additional infections and the risk of an epidemic here on the Finnish side. Of course, in the same way it can be the other way around.

Broas highlights commuting between Finland and Estonia, which was blocked on 22 March.

The situation on the Lapland border has also been monitored at the Ministry of the Interior. The government decides on the continuation or suspension of traffic at the EU’s internal borders.

Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) says the matter has been followed up. So far there has been a desire to hold on to the possibility of necessary movement.

According to Ohisalo, we want all the information about the situation on the Swedish border. The minister expects to hear the latest assessments from health authorities over the weekend.

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