On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic an international health threat. In December 2019, severe cases of pneumonia were diagnosed in China and proven to have been caused by a new coronavirus (2019N-CoV). In addition to severe infections, the virus has also caused a number of mild respiratory infections. The epidemic is centred in Hubei Province and the City of Wuhan.

In recent weeks, cases have also been reported in other areas of China. In addition, individual cases have been diagnosed in several Asian countries, Australia, the United States and some European countries. Also, in northern Finland on 29 January, 2020, a confirmed coronavirus infection was found in a traveller coming from an epidemic area. Most of those infected were living in Hubei Province or Wuhan at the time of the infection.

Updated on February 25: Epidemic areas are defined as those where more extensive chains of infection are being seen. Currently, the epidemic area covers mainland China, Iran, South Korea and regions of Veneto, Lombardy, Piemonte and Emilio-Romagna in Italy. The situation is nevertheless subject to ongoing assessment.

When should Wuhan coronavirus infection be suspected in Finland?

Despite one confirmed case, the likelihood of new cases of coronavirus in Finland remains low.

Suspicion of coronavirus always requires:

  1. having been present in the Chinese epidemic area (Hubei Province / Wuhan) or confirmed close contact with a coronavirus patient within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms

AND

  1. the patient has a high fever, a respiratory infection with a cough or breathing difficulties.

What to do if a coronavirus infection is suspected?

If you suspect you have been infected with the coronavirus, you should always first contact your local health centre by telephone Mon-Thu 8 am-4 pm and Fri 8 am-2.15 pm. In this way it is possible to estimate the risk of infection. If the symptoms and possible exposure support the diagnosis, the health centre doctor will contact Vaasa Central Hospital for further guidance. This is important because suspected cases of coronavirus infection are taken directly to an isolated hospital emergency room, without passing through the general hospital areas.

The medical staff at the Vaasa health centres have been instructed on how to manage suspected virus infections.

If suspicion of infection arises outside office hours Mon-Thu 4 pm – 8 am and Fri 2:15 pm - Mon 8:00 am, the patient should contact the Central Hospital Emergency Clinic directly by telephone:

  • primarily call 06 213 1310 or 06 213 1001

How to protect yourself against a coronavirus infection?

Coronavirus infections can be prevented by good hand and cough hygiene:

  • Wash hands with soap and water
  • Use hand disinfectants
  • Cough into a tissue or into a sleeve, not loosely facing other people or using the palm of your hand

For more information, visit the THL website

2/25/2020 Redaktion_Toimitus