Helsinki-Vantaa is introducing corona dogs and safety cabinets to combat the epidemic.

Testing safety cabinet

The coronavirus crisis has made the product of the Vilppula safety cabinet company coveted around the world.

Kojair’s employee Veerti Helander packs the finished microbiological safety cabinet at Mänttä-Vilppula factory with protective plastics. Similar types will also be available at Helsinki-Vantaa.

Suojakaapin pakkaus
Kojair’s employee Veerti Helander packs the finished microbiological safety cabinet at Mänttä-Vilppula factory with protective plastics. Similar types will also be available at Helsinki-Vantaa.
The corona readiness of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport will rise by one step this week, when coronavirus dogs arrive there for training for the first time. They can smell a person with a coronavirus.
Microbiological safety cabinets will soon be available to make coronavirus testing more efficient.
“The dogs are not yet doing official activities, but will only get to know the place for a couple of weeks,” says Timo Aronkytö, Deputy Mayor of Vantaa. According to him, dogs can bring a big change in the antiviral ability of the station.
The role of dogs is still a bit unclear, as they cannot be compared to customs dogs, for example. Aronkytö hopes that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will provide instructions for their use.
“Can a dog sniff all passengers or just a part, for example? Now everything is based on volunteering, ”he says.
“When a customs dog sniffs a bag and marks it, the passenger cannot refuse to open the bag. When a dog trained to detect a coronavirus marks a passenger, the passenger is offered a voluntary test at the beginning, but at a later stage there must also be the possibility of forced testing, ”Aronkytö estimates.
At Turku Airport, people have already been ordered into forced quarantines, but at Helsinki-Vantaa this is not the case, at least not yet. Last week, it emerged that passengers tested at Helsinki-Vantaa were found to have 2-3 times more coronavirus infections than the rest of the population tested in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS).
Dogs are a visible part of the coronavirus activity for the passenger, but much more is happening. One reform is the traffic light model already presented in the past, in which countries are divided into red, yellow and green. Passengers on red planes would be tested. Instructions are still awaited at this airport.
“We have a lot of room for improvement. As air traffic increases, the goal is to focus testing more on high-risk flights. ”
There are now about five thousand passengers a day. About a thousand of them arrive from high-risk countries.
“Covid-19 carriers are now coming across the border. We have not been able to tick it off completely. We disseminate information that passengers must be in voluntary quarantine. If people are in voluntary quarantine, then they will not get infected. ”
Lasse Lehtonen, HUS’ Director of Diagnostics, supports the risk-based forced testing of future passengers at the airport. He also praises Turku’s strict line regarding Skopjen flights.
“When it’s voluntary, it’s always up to the symptomatic conscience whether he or she wants the test or not. It is possible to walk past, even if it is clinically worth taking a test, ”says Lehtonen.
The Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland does not intend to issue an order for a mandatory medical examination at Helsinki-Vantaa to a passenger arriving from a high-risk country. Instead, targeted checks are in place for these passengers. Of course, the situation may change.
“Compulsory tests are quite impossible to implement, but there have been targeted voluntary tests so far. So there is no talk of a forced test in which a person is tied up and a stick is inserted into his nose. It requires cooperation from people, ”says Mikko Valkonen, Chief Regional Officer.
It also happens elsewhere in Finland. A small industrial hall in Vilppula, Pirkanmaa, will play a key role as the airport improves its readiness. Kojair Tech’s assembly plant manufactures microbiological safety cabinets there, which will be located at or near Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in September. HUS doesn’t want to tell you the exact location.
With the help of cabinets, virus testing can be a quarter of an hour at its fastest, if the testing is otherwise successful. This way, an air passenger entering the country would not have to stay in the airport for hours waiting for the test result – not to mention having to wait days for the results in a hotel quarantine.
“Testing is speeding up a lot. If the sample is transferred from the field to the Meilahti laboratory, the transfer may take hours. When you start testing in the field, the test result is at its best in fifteen minutes”, says Heikki Aro, CEO of Kojair.
It is essential that the person carrying the virus is immediately informed and can be isolated.
The device is not complicated, but the basic equipment of all laboratories. Without it, however, a virus test would not be able to be performed safely outside the laboratory.
Suojakaapin testaus

Heikki Aro Kojair’s test facilities will soon have a ready-made safety cabinet.

Suojakaapin valmistus

Topi Tiistola and Eveliina Puttonen manufacture a safety cabinet.

The purpose of the cabinet is to protect the worker and the environment and to keep the sample clean. The protection feature is created by filters and airflows. It makes it possible to set up a kind of field laboratory in a wide range of facilities.

Kojair has supplied thousands of cabinets around the world to hospitals, laboratories and companies. Their prices move from less than ten thousand euros upwards.

The pandemic has caused a significant increase in the company’s demand anyway, as cabinets are also needed to study the coronavirus vaccine. The factory now plans to start making cabinets in two shifts and hire more workers.

Satu Kurkela, head of the unit responsible for virology and immunology at HUS, says that coronavirus tests are now being prepared near the airport, but she does not want to comment on the testing capacity.
“Capacity will be scaled according to what the need will be there,” says Kurkela.

Will there be similar rapid laboratories for other border stations?
“We will do a needs assessment of what the situation required and respond accordingly. No one can say how the epidemiological situation is progressing. ”