Government discusses updates to COVID-19 testing strategy
In its meeting on 10 February, the Government discussed updating the objectives of its COVID-19 testing strategy and the measures in place to achieve them.
The testing strategy was originally drafted last spring and has been updated once before, in August 2020.
The aim of the updates is to be able to identify new infections, transmission chains and virus variants more quickly than at present. This way, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections more effectively through restrictions and quarantine.
Updates to testing objectives and measures
People must still be able to access a test within one day and receive their results within one day of the test. A positive finding must be reported as soon as possible to the party responsible for contact tracing so that the people exposed can be identified and placed in quarantine more quickly.
All COVID-19 test referrals prepared according to the uniform criteria will be accepted and paid for by public healthcare services. If necessary, testing capacity will be expanded through regional cooperation agreements with private service providers using state funding.
We will provide sufficient sampling methods and sites and ensure that they are easily accessible. We will establish mobile or targeted low-threshold testing sites for areas or population groups where a high level of infection has been detected and where there is a suspicion that people may not seek out conventional testing services to a sufficient extent. We will increase our use of rapid tests as far as this is possible.
Updates to criteria for access to testing
Testing capacity is primarily targeted at people experiencing symptoms, but asymptomatic people should also be tested whenever this is deemed appropriate.
Cases of COVID-19 that may have been caused by a modified strain of the virus must be investigated and the transmission chains must be traced without delay. All people arriving in Finland or returning from abroad will be directed to tests at border crossing points in line with separate operating models.
Inquiries: Anni Virolainen-Julkunen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Medical Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]