A quarter of the Covid-19 cases diagnosed in Finland have been found in patients of foreign origin.
The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said in a press release Tuesday that "a quarter of all coronavirus infections have been detected in speakers of languages other than the official Finnish languages." The reference to the mother tongue is the euphemistic way in which Finnish authorities often refer to foreigners to avoid classifications based on ethnicity.
According to the information released, among the foreign groups that lead the infection statistics are people of Russian, Somali, Arab and Kurdish origin. These are - in THL's words - the same groups with the highest proportion among the population of Finland.
"There can be many reasons for this. The background can be, for example, a weaker socioeconomic status, working in a profession where teleworking is not possible, or large families and smaller homes, which makes it difficult to prevent chains of infection," explains Natalia Skogberg, researcher at THL.
"In most cases it is due to the accumulation of a variety of factors that also increase the risk of infection in other populations," Skogberg adds.
Monthly cases of infection "by mother tongue," according to THL's classification. Source: THL.
Concerns about East Helsinki
Last week, the Helsinki Hospital Area Health Authority (HUS) expressed concern about the increase in infections in the East Helsinki area, where a large proportion of the foreign population lives. Similar problems are occurring in some neighborhoods of Vantaa.
According to Asko Järvinen, chief physician of HUS, the proliferation of cases in these areas could be explained by the propensity of families to be larger and the difficulties in accessing information due to the language barrier.
Health authorities reported 550 new infections on Tuesday. There was no official published daily death toll at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, the incidence number continues to rise throughout the country. According to THL, the current incidence rate is 99.4 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide.
The incidence is much higher in the Helsinki-Uusimaa region, where around a quarter of the country's population live and which also concentrates the highest number of infections. In this area, the incidence rate is 191.6 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks, according to THL.