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Friday’s papers: Marin meeting, stockpilers clear shelves, football stars disappointed

Coronavirus was the main story once again in Friday’s newspapers.

Kuvassa on puolityhjiä säilykehyllyjä.
A shop in Turku ran low on some tinned goods on Thursday. Image: Päivi Leppänen / Yle
Yle News

The papers on Friday are once again consumed with the coronavirus response. From politicians and health authorities to the general public, everyone is reacting to the pandemic.

On Thursday meeting Prime Minister Sanna Marin called a ‘parliamentary meeting’ of all party leaders, government and opposition.

The goal was to agree on activation of emergency powers that would allow the government to take tougher action to fight the outbreak in Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that there was broad agreement among the parties on activating the legislation, but that certain criteria had to be met.

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson of the Swedish People’s Party said that the legislation was intended to deal with armed conflict and serious emergencies, and that the government had to be sure the situation met those criteria.

She said that there are still other measures available to the government, and they might be enough.

Before the meeting the two opposition parties, the National Coalition and the Finns Party, had both called for stricter measures and school closures to be enacted sooner.

Run on toilet paper

One of the features of the coronavirus outbreak has been the desire of consumers worldwide to purchase masses and masses of toilet paper.

That phenomenon arrived in Finland after the government banned gatherings of 500 or more people, and the newspapers covered it in detail.

HS has a photo gallery (siirryt toiseen palveluun) of the empty shelves of Finland, while Iltalehti interviewed (siirryt toiseen palveluun) store managers about the clear rise in demand for long-life items and, of course, toilet paper.

This stockpiling does have serious real-world consequences. Ilta-Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that antibacterial hand sanitiser is now selling for 38.50 euros at one Helsinki supermarket.

The manager says she is unable to source the product at normal prices, and so the cost to consumers has quadrupled since the coronavirus outbreak arrived.

HS reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on one possible solution: a pharmacist in Porvoo is cooking up self-made sanitiser in 10-kilogram batches.

The pharmacy-based story does suggest that it may be good to have some fever-reducing medicine on hand during a pandemic, however.

Euro2020 question marks

On Thursday news broke (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that Uefa, the body in charge of European football, had called a meeting on 17 March to decide how to complete the rest of the season and what to do about the Euro2020 tournament due to take place this summer.

The meeting will take place by video conference to avoid unnecessary travel, and is expected to decide on the details of the postponement and cancellations of tournaments and domestic leagues across the continent.

Readers might remember that in November Finland qualified for this tournament for the first time ever, prompting wild celebrations and excited anticipation among the country’s football devotees.

That has all dissipated in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and Ilta-Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that national team players are also sanguine about the possible postponement of the tournament.

Defender Paulus Arajuuri, who plays for Pafos in Cyprus,said that he’d rather delay the whole tournament than play it in front of empty stands, as the tournament 'belongs to the fans and the people'.

"Health always comes first," said Arajuuri. "Let’s look after each other."

"This is a terrible thing worldwide and therefore it feels stupid to even talk about football. If something has to be said then of course it’s a shame that we might cancel the whole tournament. That’s life."

Finland captain Tim Sparv, who plays for FC Midtjylland in Denmark, was of the same opinion, and drew attention to Denmark’s decision this week to close all schools and universities to try and slow the spread of the virus.

"This should be taken seriously, and dealt with swiftly and decisively," said Sparv. "In Denmark it was decided to close schools and daycare centres. In my opinion that’s the only correct decision. It’s better to be cautious."

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