Coronavirus Football tourists can bring a new epidemic of the European Championships from St. Petersburg and Copenhagen, believes Hus expert

The Finnish National Team Supporters’ Association organizes flights to Copenhagen for 250 Finnish football fans and bus trips to St. Petersburg for 1,500. According to the chairman of the association, Marko Karvinen, the aim is to organize the trips as safely as possible.

Football The European Championships may be a danger zone for the spread of the coronavirus. Tourists are also afraid of spreading new virus variants to Finland.

“This is a concern that has been carried on for two months, especially in the southern hospital districts,” says Hus’s infection chief physician at the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District. Asko Järvinen.

The concern is that all domestic outbreaks of epidemics have been new strains of the virus that have entered the country more than one at a time.

“In March 2020, we had‘ alpine tourists ’and then a new virus strain among immigrant backgrounds in eastern Helsinki. Similarly, after the summer, we noticed a new type of virus that had spread in Finland, which had probably come from summer trips abroad. Around Christmas, the British variant arrived in Finland, and by the time of the ski holiday week, it had already become the prevailing variant in the Hus area. Similarly, the South African variant and the Indian variant spread with tourism, ”says Järvinen.

According to Järvinen, the variants stick more easily, which causes problems.

“While in the early part of the year we were able to identify differences in variants and thus focus infection tracking more quickly on variant-induced infections and reduce infections, we were unable to prevent variant prevalence,” he says.

“This reflects that problem: an unfortunate or reckless entry can even trigger a whole new epidemic.”

Read more: Indian virus variant appears to be more susceptible to hospitalized infection – Professor: “Getting two doses of vaccine is important”

Until the population is protected by two doses of the vaccine, a variant threat is present. According to Järvinen, there is a need for border measures and controls, at least for the summer, when vaccination is in progress.

Football The European Championships start on June 11 and end on July 11. Suomen Huuhkajat will play their first game in the first block on June 12 in Copenhagen. The second game against Russia is on June 16 and the third against Belgium on June 21 in St. Petersburg.

The Finnish National Team Supporters’ Association (SMJK) organizes flights to Copenhagen for 250 Finnish football fans and bus trips to St. Petersburg for 1,500. The age range of passengers is 18-70 years.

“We organize the trips because after thinking about it, we ended up having people travel to the games anyway. Rather, the trip is guided, as this enables us to provide people with information on, for example, health safety issues, ”says the chairman of SMJK. Marko Karvinen.

He emphasizes that the association has a desire to operate as responsibly and safely as possible.

“We’re not making a profit on these trips, but rather a small loss.”

To Copenhagen The members of the association will embark on a three-day trip on two different aircraft, one of which is SMJK’s own charter flight and the other has been carried out in cooperation with Experience Travel. The latter flight has about 50 members of the association and about 150 Experience Travel customers.

To St. Petersburg, some members travel just to watch the game, some spend the day in the city, and some stay for a week. Buses run to St. Petersburg from Turku via Helsinki, Kotka and Lappeenranta, from Tampere via Lahti and from Kuopio via Mikkeli. Routes are just as popular.

In games, SMKJ members do not necessarily sit side by side, as the seating is determined by which part of the auditorium each has bought a ticket for. According to current information, there is a mask for the match in Copenhagen. At St. Petersburg Stadium, the mask should be worn when moving from your seat.

There is a mask requirement on SMJK’s flights and buses. Prior to access to the vehicle, there must be either a certificate of a negative coronary test result, a coronary artery disease or two doses of vaccine. Among other things, a corona test package has been negotiated from 9 Lives at a preferential price of EUR 150 for those who have paid the membership fee.

Written instructions will also be given to those leaving for the race trip, which will include information on the tests required during the trip and instructions on how passengers should act when returning to Finland.

“We emphasize the two-test model.”

THL recommends that a passenger returning to Finland from abroad remain in voluntary quarantine for 14 days.

“However, testing is more important than quarantine, as surveys around the world show that people follow only two to 30 percent of their two-week voluntary quarantine and isolation recommendations, regardless of good intentions,” says the lead expert. Jari Jalava From THL.

“That’s why we emphasize the two-test model. Of course, quarantine is allowed for two weeks. That is also a good option, but not if it actually materializes at only 10%. ”

After the border corona test, the second corona test should take place no earlier than 72 hours after crossing the border. THL recommends to be self-quarantined at least until the result of the second test.

Jalavan according to him, no stricter controls or recommendations are planned for the time of the European Championships.

“With the current model, 96 percent of further infections can be avoided as long as the model is implemented correctly.”

Here’s how THL guides travelers abroad:

  • Don’t travel sick.

  • Find out about current destination entry policies.

  • Before leaving Finland, obtain a certificate of a negative corona test result. The test certificate must be obtained from private health care with your own money and is valid for 72 hours.

  • You travel at your own risk. Please note that illness abroad may result in hospitalization or quarantine.

  • For the return ride, find out if the shipping company requires a negative test result and where you could take the test abroad.

  • When returning to Finland, use the Finentry application. If you do not have a valid certificate, take a corona test at the border.

  • Take a new corona test in your home or residence no earlier than 72 hours after your return to Finland. THL recommends to be self-quarantined at least until the result of the second test.

Source: THL

The hazard of the model is another domestic test.

The duration of the European Championship trips is just so short that a tourist tourist may unknowingly bring an infection as a gift, which only begins to show symptoms in Finland.

“A test performed at a border crossing cannot rule out coronary infection. The concern of the health authorities is that these infected people return to their own home circle on the way, do not take another test and can spread the infection in Finland, ”says Husin Asko Järvinen.

At the border crossing point, the regional government agencies order a health safety check. The second test involves more individual responsibility.

Both experts stress the importance of the second test. SMJK also separately recommends a second test for those returning from a trip.

It’s about is not just about football trips. THL still recommends avoiding all foreign tourism, Jalava reminds.

“Sure, we understand that going to such competitions is interesting, but the recommendation is still valid and there is a good reason for it. Fortunately, although the number of infections in Europe has fallen recently, the pandemic is still going strong and there is still a lot of disease in the world. There are still many unvaccinated and irresistible. ”

According to Jalava, the European Championships are associated with an increased fear of the spread of infections among the competition audience, for example in a stadium, a nearby bar or even a restaurant.

However, he does not see a similar danger in the European Championships as in the so-called spring 2020 in Milan, Italy In a “Game Zero” football match. It was later thought to have played a role in the rapid spread of corona infections in southern Europe. In addition to Italian fans, the match was followed by tens of thousands of Spanish football fans, some of whom became infected in Italy and transmitted the virus forward in Spain.

“The situation is now better compared to spring 2020. We are more prepared and ready and the testing capacity is also excellent, ”says Jalava.

“However, it must be borne in mind that everyone is an individual and makes their own decisions.”

Traveling to races however, according to Jalava, takes a conscious individual-level risk. Getting infected abroad can also mean being hospitalized or quarantined in the event of an exposure.

The chance of a tourist becoming infected increases, as the incidence of corona infections is higher in Denmark and Russia than in Finland.

On Wednesday, Denmark was at the top of the list of European countries in terms of population-related coronary infections over the past 14 days. The incidence rate in the country was 210.3 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The corresponding ratio was 86.5 in Russia and 28.1 in Finland. Within countries, there may be large differences in incidence between cities.

“In both countries, the incidence is increasing, i.e. the population is active in the pathogen. Compared to Finnish cities, just being in St. Petersburg is a risk of infection. If social distances are not maintained, the risks of infection exist, ”says Jalava.

Riot police in front of Gazprom Arena on May 22. The European Championships were postponed by a year due to a coronavirus pandemic.

According to SMJK’s Marko Karvinen, there is no terrible risk involved in the trips of football fans, as long as everyone follows the instructions given by the association.

“However, it must be borne in mind that everyone is an individual and makes their own decisions. That’s why we can’t give any full guarantee, ”he says.

“We can’t restrict the movement of people. Everyone has the right to go and do, but of course we hope that we behave responsibly and not go into any horrible nightclub traps, and that is how all fellow passengers are taken into account. ”

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