Arctic Finland’s first coronavirus patient released from hospital symptom-free

A tourist visiting from China who was confirmed to have the new strain of coronavirus last week was released from Lapland Central Hospital on Wednedsay after testing negative for the illness. (Maija-Liisa Juntti/Yle)
A tourist visiting from China who was confirmed to have the new strain of coronavirus last week was released from Lapland Central Hospital on Wednedsay after testing negative for the illness, according to the facility’s infectious diseases specialist Markku Broas.

“Results of tests carried out on two consecutive days were negative. The woman is in good condition and no longer has symptoms,” Broas said.

The two most recent tests on the 30-year-old female patient were taken on Monday and Tuesday, and the negative results were confirmed on Wednesday.

The patient – from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – had been on holiday at the Saariselkä resort village in northern Finland when she was brought to Lapland Central Hospital in the city of Rovaniemi on Tuesday 28 January.

The following day, coronavirus tests on the patient were confirmed and the patient continued to be held in isolation at the medical facility until Wednesday of this week. The incident marked the first and only confirmed case of the disease in Finland.

Finland reaching out

Broas said that a total of 21 individuals in Finland are believed to have been exposed to the virus. Fourteen of them are still in quarantine and expected to be released over the weekend, by Monday at the latest. Three of the quarantined patients tested negative for the virus last week.

Meanwhile, three others who were possibly exposed to the virus are known to have left the country. The National Authority for Health and Welfare THL said the agency has been in contact with health authorities in the home countries of those visitors.

Finnish authorities have not been able to reach four of the people possibly exposed to the virus.

Local hospitals in Lapland said it was difficult to identify a portion of those tourists potentially exposed to the virus because they had participated in the same activities as the confirmed coronavirus patient and some had only used nicknames or first names to register for the activities.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: No confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canadian Arctic, but here’s how they’re preparing, CBC News

Finland: Officials track down most of those exposed to coronavirus in Arctic Finland, Yle News

Norway: Concern over coronavirus outbreak impacts tourism in northern Europe and Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Mass vaccination against anthrax continues on Yamal Peninsula, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Warnings in Sweden about dangerous bacteria in Baltic Sea, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska sees first measles case since 2015, Alaska Public Media

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