January 29, 2020 / 4:30 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-Finland confirms its first coronavirus case

(Adds details and background, paragraphs 3-5)

HELSINKI, Jan 29 (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’s central hospital in northern 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.

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 travellers on Finnair flights from China fly on to mainland Europe after a stopover in Helsinki, Finnish Lapland is an increasingly popular winter travel destination among Chinese travellers who arrive to see the aurora borealis or to visit a Santa Claus village in Rovaniemi. (Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Alison Williams and Hugh Lawson)

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