Finland reports its first coronavirus case in an Arctic visitor from China

Finland's Arctic has become an increasingly popular destination with Chinese tourists.

By Reuters - January 30, 2020
General view of an emergency entrance of the Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi, Finland, January 29, 2020. (Kaisa Siren / Lehtikuva via Reuters)

Finland on Wednesday confirmed its first coronavirus case, affecting a Chinese traveller from Wuhan, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said.

The traveller remains in isolation in Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi, in Arctic Finland, it said in a statement, adding that some 15 other people may have been exposed and that their condition is being monitored by the authorities.

[A giant Christmas theme park in northern Finland aims to attract 10 million visitors to the Arctic annually]

On Tuesday, national carrier Finnair became the first European airline to cancel flights to mainland China, after suspending its routes to Nanjing and Beijing’s Daxing airport until the end of March.

Finnair, which sees its Asian connections as a cornerstone of its business strategy, is just one of the airlines affected by the growing fears about the spread of the new flu-like virus.

While many travelers on Finnair flights from China fly on to mainland Europe after a stopover in Helsinki, Arctic Finland is an increasingly popular winter travel destination among Chinese travelers who arrive to see the aurora borealis or to visit a Santa Claus village in Rovaniemi.