THL Manager: Omicron spread in Finland "inevitable," but no need to panic

The spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Finland is "inevitable," by Mika Salminen, Director of Health Security, Department of Health and Welfare.

"The world is connected by various air, ship and land connections. It is very difficult to prevent the spread of virus variants. It has always been known that these emerge and spread gradually. Maybe we can slow down their progress and get time," Salminen told Yle First morning performance on Tuesday morning.

The Finnish authorities are currently investigating whether two cases of coronavirus detected in Finland last week are variants of Omicron, and confirmation is expected in the next few days after the samples have been genetically sequenced.

THL said on Monday that both cases involved people who came to the country from abroad. The two patients have been isolated and their contacts have been tracked.

"We are not yet talking about proliferation, but only on individual cases. It is possible that there are more cases because we cannot know when the variant was born and how long it has spread around the world," Salminen said.

“No need to panic”

However, Salminen added that he also wanted to reassure those living in Finland about the Omicron variant, saying that the infectivity and severity of the new variant are not yet clear, although several countries have already imposed travel restrictions.

He said the appearance of different variants and mutations was expected and there is no need to panic.

"Emergency brakes have been heavily printed around the world based on relatively little information. If there are variations that would prevent the vaccines from working, the vaccines will be changed. As with influenza vaccines," Salminen said.

He added that there is also a risk involved in using the emergency brake, as countries may decide to hide data from new versions if it leads to their isolation.

"It is not in anyone’s interests. We should come up with a better way than to isolate areas for a long time as a reflexive reaction," Salminen said.

Source: The Nordic Page





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