Phases of the COVID-19 epidemic

The action plan for implementing the Government’s hybrid strategy divides the COVID-19 epidemic into three phases. This classification is used to assess the development of the epidemic and the need for recommendations and restrictions and to ensure that they are appropriately targeted in Finland.

Phases of the epidemic

1. Stable level

  • The epidemic is at stable level, and incidence is low.
  • Local and regional transmission chains occur only occasionally. Transmission chains are manageable, and the people exposed can be traced without delay.
  • New cases are either random isolated cases or most of them are detected among people in quarantine.

2. Acceleration phase

  • The epidemic is accelerating, and regional incidence is higher than at the stable level. This may mean that the percentage of people testing positive is above one and that large-scale exposures occur.
  • Contact tracing manages to identify a significant proportion of the sources of infection.
  • There are many local and regional transmission chains.

3. Community transmission phase

  • The epidemic continues to accelerate. This may mean that the percentage of people testing positive is above two and that the need for inpatient and intensive care is projected to increase.
  • Cases are spreading at the regional level or more widely through the population.
  • Contact tracing is becoming more difficult.

The epidemiological situation is being monitored at the regional and national levels.

Regional COVID-19 situation and restrictions on the hospital district websites

Regional and local authorities (hospital districts and municipalities or joint municipal authorities) decide on introducing or lifting measures according to the epidemiological situation. In addition, the regional state administrative agencies may make certain decisions.

The Government’s hybrid strategy to manage the COVID-19 epidemic

On 6 May 2020, the Government adopted a resolution on a plan for a hybrid strategy to manage the COVID-19 crisis. It aims to 

  • prevent the spread of the virus in society, 
  • safeguard the carrying capacity of the healthcare system and
  • protect people, especially those in risk groups.

The resolution in Finnish: Valtioneuvoston periaatepäätös suunnitelmasta koronakriisin hallinnan hybridistrategiaksi

The action plan for implementing the hybrid strategy, adopted in autumn 2020, guides the authorities in managing the COVID-19 epidemic. It sets out the criteria used to determine the phase of the epidemic.

The action plan in Finnish: Toimintasuunnitelma hybridistrategian mukaisten suositusten ja rajoitusten toteuttamiseen covid-19-epidemian ensimmäisen vaiheen jälkeen

The action plan has been updated for January–May 2021. It may be revised during the spring if the epidemiological situation so requires.

The updated action plan in Finnish: Toimintasuunnitelma covid-19-epidemian hillinnän hybridistrategian toteuttamiseen tammi–toukokuussa 2021

The action plan was supplemented with the new tiers of prevention measures (link) on 26 January 2021.

In Finnish: Valtioneuvoston periaatepäätös COVID-19-epidemian hillinnän hybridistrategian toteuttamisesta annetun toimintasuunnitelman täydennyksestä

In its resolution on 6 May 2021, the Government stated that the use of nationwide tiers of COVID-19 prevention measures could be discontinued. 

The resolution in Finnish: Valtioneuvoston periaatepäätös hybridistrategian toimintasuunnitelman täydennyksessä tarkoitettujen toimenpidetasojen käytöstä luopumisesta

On 27 May 2021 the Government issued a resolution on an update of the hybrid strategy to manage the COVID-19 epidemic. The goal is to keep the COVID-19 epidemic under control in Finland until a sufficient vaccination coverage has been reached and the risk of a resurgence in the epidemic is significantly lower.

The updated action plan in Finnish: Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriön toimintasuunnitelma COVID-19 -epidemian hillinnän hybridistrategian toteuttamiseen