The number of new coronavirus cases continue to decline, which indicates that the pandemic is currently slowing down in Finland.

A protester against coronavirus restrictions in Helsinki on March 20, 2021. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

“The restrictions and recommendations have clearly been effective and prevented infections. As the spring progresses, vaccinations and seasonal variation will begin to contribute to the positive development of the epidemic,” the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) noted in a joint statement. “The fact that people have complied with the recommendations and restrictions in a commendable manner has also helped ease the epidemic.”

The ministry and THL, however, stressed that “the number of Covid-19 infections remains high enough that the situation may deteriorate rapidly again if contacts between people increase significantly and the virus is able to spread more freely in the population.”

There are still major differences in the development of the pandemic between hospital districts. Southern and southwestern Finland are still the worst affected areas. However, the incidence of new cases has declined in most districts.

On Tuesday, April 27, the government declared that the current situation no longer constitutes a state of emergency under the Emergency Powers Act due to the improved pandemic situation.

Between April 19 and 25, the source of infection was traced in more than 70% of all new cases of domestic origin. The success rate for contact tracing was thus at the same level as the week before. Around 27% of new cases were reported among people already in quarantine.

The percentage of people in quarantine of all cases has decreased since the previous week, when it stood at 40%. Between April 19 and 25, a total of 6,528 people were quarantined, which is approximately the same number as in the previous week.

Between April 19 and 25, over 1,600 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing a decrease of around 300 cases from the previous week. The number of new cases was 67% lower between April 19 and 25 than between March 8 and 14, when the number of cases was highest during the entire pandemic (over 4,900 cases). The incidence of new cases was 29 per 100,000 inhabitants between April 19 and 25, while in the previous week it was 35.

The total number of new cases reported in the last two-week period was more than 3,500, which is over 2,200 cases fewer than in the preceding two-week period. The incidence of new cases was 64 per 100,000 inhabitants from April 12 to 25, while in the preceding two-week period it was 105.

Currently, the estimated basic reproduction number is 0.70–0.90, with a 90% probability, which means that it has remained below one since April 7.

More than 115,000 coronavirus tests were taken between April 19 and 25. The number of tests is still high in relation to the population, although the number of samples taken has been on a slight decline since mid-March.

During the same period, the percentage of positive coronavirus cases of all samples taken has also declined, standing at approximately 1.4% between April 19 and 25. Since early spring, exposed persons have been tested with a lower threshold than before, which partly explains the decline in the percentage of positive cases.

In Finland, 88% of people aged 70 years or older and 57% of people aged 50 years or older have already received their first vaccine dose. All people in risk groups are expected to have received their first dose by mid-May and all those over 16 who wish to do so by the end of July.

Vaccines are estimated to have reduced the need for hospital care. The number of patients in hospital care was highest before Easter, between March 22 and April 4. Compared to this, the total number of patients in hospital care has reduced by half, but the rate of decline has slowed down.