Several Finnish fans have returned from St. Petersburg with positive Covid-19 tests

Finnish authorities have warned on Saturday that many football fans returning from European Championship finals matches in St. Petersburg are bringing the new coronavir home, and urging all other passers-by from the neighboring country to be tested as well.

According to Mika Salminen, director of the diagnostics department at the Finnish Institute for Health and Social Development, the virus has been detected in 120 passengers returning from Russia’s second largest city, mainly football fans, and this number is expected to increase.

The institute has called for Covid-19 tests not only for football fans, but for all passengers who have returned from St. Petersburg or Russia in general “by bus of any company”, as each of them could be at risk of infection. People who have contacted them are also advised to check.

Finnish health officials said this week that a number of known infections have been linked to St. Petersburg’s Alpenhaus beer restaurant near the Gazprom Arena. Tourists visiting this restaurant are advised to be especially careful.

According to the institute’s experts, tourists are mainly infected with the delta strain of the virus, which was originally called the Indian strain, but no precise information is yet available, as it takes about two weeks to detect the strain of the virus. Finnish border guards have provided health officials with lists of all people who have recently returned from Russia and are already being contacted by the relevant municipalities. Most of these infections have been detected in the Helsinki area.

YLE points out that about 800 people were allowed to enter Finland without testing due to congestion at a border checkpoint in Valimaa on Tuesday, and already on Thursday about a hundred of them were confirmed infected.

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In Russia, the incidence of Covid-19 has been rising sharply since mid-June, due to the spread of the delta subtype. In a day in St. Petersburg, the disease claimed 107 lives, the highest number of victims since a pandemic in a Russian city. The number of newly detected cases in Russia has exceeded 21,600 this day, which is the highest figure since January.