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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Coronavirus situation worsening quickly across Finland

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
3.12.2020 10.00 | Published in English on 3.12.2020 at 12.32
Press release 300/2020

The coronavirus situation is rapidly worsening in Finland. Over the past two weeks, the number and incidence of cases has risen sharply in almost all regions. This development calls for an immediate and proactive response.

Regions must adopt new effective ways to prevent infections and introduce yet more restrictive measures to stop the upward trend. While many regions have already taken action, it will take a few weeks before we can see the effects of the recommendations and restrictions on the development of the epidemic.

Throughout the epidemic, the majority of new cases have been reported in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. The incidence remained high in the hospital district during the period of 23–29 November. There are now a lot of new cases in the rest of the country, too.

Incidence and proportion of positive samples on the rise across the country

During the period of 23–29 November, a total of 3,023 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing an increase of 444 cases on the previous week. The incidence of new cases was 55 per 100,000 inhabitants. It was 47 per 100,000 inhabitants in the preceding week (16–22 November).

The total number of new cases in the last two-week period (16–29 November) was 5,620, which was 2,559 cases more than in the preceding two-week period. The rise in the incidence of new cases is particularly alarming: it was 101 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two-week compared to 55 cases per 100,000 inhabitant in the preceding two-week period.

Currently, the estimated basic reproduction number is 1.1–1.35, with a 90 per cent probability.
In the past week, only one in five new cases in Finland were reported among people already in quarantine, compared to one in four the preceding week and one in three the week before that. 

During the period of 23–29 November, around 13,000–23,000 samples were analysed daily. The proportion of positive samples has continued to rise in recent weeks, reaching around 2.7 per cent in the period of 23–29 November.

Every other source of infection known 

While nationally, the source of new cases of COVID-19 was known in around half of all cases, only one in three sources were known in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. 

Household transmission accounted for around 50 per cent and occupational transmission for some 25 per cent of all known sources of infection. The number of new cases associated with recreational activities showed a slight decrease at around 4 per cent. Only some two per cent of new cases were associated with businesses serving food or beverages.

Some five per cent of new cases were traced back to educational institutions and around two per cent to early childhood education and care. However, mass exposures are still common in educational institutions. More detailed information on further infections is currently being collected in cooperation with municipalities. At the moment this data indicates that the number of further infections in educational institutions is much lower than previously reported. Only one per cent of exposed children and students and less than two per cent of exposed school staff contracted an infection.

Most new cases among working-age adults and younger age groups

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by age group has not changed much in the past three weeks. Younger age groups and working-age adults still account for the majority of new cases. During the period of 23–29 November, people under 50 years of age accounted for around 75 per cent of all cases and people under 30 years of age for nearly 40 per cent of the cases.

The risk of contracting COVID-19 will increase among older age groups with the worsening epidemiological situation. Already, their share of new cases showed a slight increase on the situation a month ago. During the period of 23–29 November, people aged over 60 accounted for around 12 per cent of new cases and those over 70 for some five per cent, compared to eight per cent and three per cent, respectively, four weeks earlier.

On 2 December 2020, a total of 165 patients were receiving hospital care due to the COVID-10 disease, and 21 of them were in intensive care. The average age of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has been the same, 57 years, throughout the epidemic, and some 55 per cent of the patients have been aged under 60 years.

It is estimated that about 18,100 people, which is over 70 per cent of all confirmed cases, have recovered from the disease. The total number of confirmed cases in Finland now stands at 25,882. There have been 408 deaths related to the disease.

The monitoring report on the epidemic published today and the previous reports are available on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare:


Taneli Puumalainen, Chief Physician, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (development of the epidemic)
Kari Auranen, Senior Researcher, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (projection models) 
Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Strategic Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (situational picture and modelling group)

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