Finland's COVID-19 cases hit new daily record

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Salo

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland reported on Tuesday its highest daily number of COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic and they now exceed the rate that Helsinki sets for other countries before their citizens are allowed to visit without being quarantined.

The health authority data recorded 227 new cases, above a previous daily peak of 211 infections in April during the first COVID-19 wave. However, far fewer people were being tested then, suggesting a significant number of cases may have gone undetected in the early months.

"The coronavirus situation is getting worse in Finland too," Prime Minister Sanna Marin tweeted, adding the government would consider possible new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, possibly next week.

The new data means that Finland's 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants has more than doubled to 30.6 from 14.2 in the past two weeks.

Finland earlier set 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over two weeks as a limit for countries it considers safe and free of travel restrictions - one of the strictest such limits in Europe.

Incidence rates have been on the rise across Europe in recent weeks and Finland's new rate remains among the lowest, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control data showed.

Since the pandemic began, Finland, a country of around 5.5 million, has recorded 10,929 COVID-19 cases and 346 deaths.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Gareth Jones)