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"I'm free": Finland adapts to the less-distanced life

This week our All Points North podcast looks at social distancing fatigue in Finland as the weather warms.

With coronavirus restrictions relaxing, Finland is all set for a more social summer. Image: Markku Pitkänen / Yle
Yle News

Finland’s calibrated return to normalcy took a big leap forward this week, with some residents flocking to bars and restaurants not much unlike the fervour with which this year’s bumper crop of mosquitoes are swarming towards victims.

"I’m freer than free in this open lockdown," Jahanzaib said on Yle News' Facebook page.

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In this week's episode we unpack the latest official recommendations on face mask use in Finland as the government and some scientists make conflicting recommendations ahead of a looming second wave of the pandemic. We also delve into a new coronavirus tracing app that Finland wants to launch in August.

APN also checks in on whether Finland is greening its Covid bailouts as the government unveiled a fourth 5.5-billion-euro supplemental budget aimed at getting post-pandemic Finland back on its feet.

Escape from Al-Hol

We also explore the political storm in Finland kicked up by the recent return of three Finnish families from the Al-Hol displacement camp in northeastern Syria. Yle foreign correspondent Antti Kuronen, who has documented life at the sprawling tent camp, told APN returning women should be seen as individuals, not as a group of former adherents of Islamic State.

"There are probably women that are a little bit more radical still, so that’s a concern. But of course in Finland, the thing is that these children have rights as Finnish citizens. They have a right to a good life and that’s why the government has been thinking about what to do and how to bring them back," he explained.

APN also looks at Wednesday’s Black Lives Matter demonstration in Helsinki and asks whether that energy will translate into concern for Finland’s racialised minorities as an EU report in 2018 found Finland to be one of the most racist countries in the union.

Join the conversation!

This week's show was presented by Zena Iovino and Ronan Browne. Our producer was Priya Ramachandran D'souza and the sound engineer was Joonatan Kotila. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at and

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