Skip to content

Tuesday's papers: Covid variants, kids' weight problems and Helsinki home shortage

Covid dominates the news agenda on Tuesday. 

Bars could face more restrictions soon. Image: Petteri Sopanen / Yle

The Helsinki region has seen an increase in Covid cases, and health authorities are worried about faster-spreading new variants that are now dominant in the area.

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on Tuesday that three quarters of new cases in the capital region are now the British variant.

All cases in the region are now checked for a so-called S protein, allowing health authorities to quickly determine whether an infection is caused by the new variant or not.

HS quotes virologist Olli Vapalahti as stating he is not surprised at all that the British variant is now so dominant. He says the region is now at a 'critical' juncture, when decision-makers have to move to control the spread of the virus.

He had one concrete suggestion on action to take: closing bars and restaurants. That idea was echoed by Asko Järvinen, boss of the Helsinki region's hospital district, in Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

"The most effective [measure] would be if we could curb licensed premises," said Järvinen.

"People move around there, music forces people to speak louder and spread droplets further. Licensed restaurants have been the source of several pretty long infection chains that clearly lead back there," he pointed out.

Kids' Covid weight gain

Pori paper Satakunnan Kansa carries (siirryt toiseen palveluun) a story quoting school nurses in the region who are concerned that school kids have grown a little chubbier during the pandemic.

"My experience is that if children's weight and height is marked on a growth chart, it shows a much steeper rise in weight gain than the previous year," said Kaisa-Alanko, a school nurse in northern Satakunta.

The story suggests that pandemic-era exhortations to stay home have made children less active than before. And obesity among young people was a concern even before the pandemic.

Long spells of home schooling have reduced everyday activity like walking or cycling to school, and kids have also missed out on physical education lessons. Remote learning also sometimes makes it more difficult for kids to access healthy food, when school meals are either unavailable or need to be collected.

If parents don't make a special effort to compensate, the lack of activity can leave its mark.

Home shortage in Helsinki

Business daily Kauppalehti has a story (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on a tried and trusted topic: the shortage of homes in the Helsinki region.

The paper says that although Helsinki is building 10,000 homes this year, that is still around a thousand too few to meet demand.

"Domestic and international investors ask what's on offer in Helsinki, but we don't always find anything," said Juha Metsälä of the Pohjola Rakennus building firm.

Demand from investors remains strong, and forecasts for population growth in the Helsinki region also point to increased need for housing in the coming years, according to Kauppalehti.

Some 12.5 percent more building permits were granted at the end of last year than in the corresponding period in 2019, but those homes will take time to build.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia