HELSINKI, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Finnish Defence Forces has cancelled its participation in a military exercise in Germany over coronavirus, the Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported on Wednesday.
The military exercise is called European Challenge, whose training area is Wildflecken-Hammelburg, close to areas afflicted by COVID-19 epidemic, Finnish defence forces said.
Finnish soldiers would have been part of the EU Battlegroup in the training that began on Wednesday. However, the participation has been cancelled and some soldiers of the Finnish contingent who were already in Germany will be returning, according to Yle.
Max Arhippainen, Chief of Public Affairs in the Finnish Defence Command, told Xinhua that no overall decision has been taken on participation in international maneuvers during the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe. Decisions will be taken case by case.
Over the weekend, Finland had called off at the last moment participation in a military maneuver in Norway due to the COVID-19 epidemic, before the Finnish contingent of 400 soldiers had crossed the border.
The Finnish Defence Forces has announced earlier in a press release that they have taken measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19.
Finland confirmed 21 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Wednesday, bringing the total number in the country to 61.