The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in spring 2020, has posed various challenges to society. The pandemic has had a considerable impact on Helsinki, since cases in Finland have been concentrated in the capital. In 2021, a quarter of Finland’s COVID-19 cases were identified among residents of Helsinki which is approximately double their portion of the population. Waves of cases and new variants have created different stages in the pandemic, which has in turn affected the way the city has managed the situation and the related measures.
The newly published report describes the period from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 all the way to summer 2022. The City of Helsinki's Coronavirus Coordination Group decided on the creation of the report at a meeting held on 13 April 2022. The report was put together between June and November 2022 at the City Executive Office’s Urban Research and Statistics Unit.
– The city has actively informed the residents and users of the city’s services in the rapidly changing situations during the coronavirus crisis. A lot of effort was also put into staff communications and guidance. In summary, I can say that internal and external communication has remained of good quality and has also improved. The city has tried to remain clear and consistent throughout its communication. This report of the pandemic years in Helsinki is a continuation of the open communication style adopted by the city, the Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen states.
The City of Helsinki has previously commissioned an external party to produce three inquiries on the performance of the city’s crisis organisation. They assessed how well it fared in crisis management and identified challenges and areas of improvement. The newly published report is more extensive than these inquiries but it does not assess the impact of the city’s measures or how successful it was in their implementation. The report is like a handbook that looks back at the city’s decision-making and organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic and may prove useful during possible future pandemics or other crises.
For media inquiries, contact the report’s author: Project researcher Sirkku Järvelä, City of Helsinki, e-mail: sirkku.jarvela(at)hel.fi