Several measures will be taken in the autumn to accelerate the coronavirus testing process and, according to the Ministry of Social Services and Health, “to make it more efficient in order to tackle the spread of the virus in Finland as effectively as possible.”

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services speaking at the press conference regarding increasing testing capacity for the coronavirus at the Government Palace on August 19, 2020. Photograph: Laura Kotila/The Finnish government

Coronavirus testing process will be accelerated in the autumn so that people will be able to get tested within 24 hours and receive their results within 24 hours, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health noted in a statement, which was published during a press conference on Wednesday evening. “The key measures to reach the goal,” according to the ministry, “are recruiting more personnel, internal arrangements, developing new testing models and ensuring close cooperation between public and private regional service producers.”

 “The testing capacity cannot be increased instantly. It will take a minimum of six to eight weeks to see movement in the right direction,” Krista Kiuru (the SDP), the minister of family affairs and social services, said in the press conference. She, however, added that “there will be differences in various areas [regarding when testing can be started in municipalities across the country].”

The ministry noted that where possible, rapid tests should also be used and processes should be developed to facilitate testing. A further aim is to strengthen cooperation between public and private healthcare providers. 

According to the ministry, the current testing capacity is already more than 14,000 samples a day and the maximum daily numbers of tests have been more than 10,000. In preparing for the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the aim is to increase the capacity to 20,000 samples a day during the autumn.

In addition to sampling and analysis, the ministry noted that sufficient tracing resources must be provided to break transmission chains. The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) supports coordinating the tracing of transmission chains at the national level.

Another aim is to further improve and streamline the operational processes of quarantine decisions to prevent further infections.

The main testing principle, according to the ministry, continues to be test, trace, isolate and treat.

Testing is a package that includes assessing the risk of infection, sample taking and analysis, and the necessary further measures.