Tuesday's papers: ICU blockage, hand sanitiser concerns, Lapland return and gambling problems

Finland's intensive care units are filling up with those who have not had Covid vaccine. 

Is antibacterial gel really a defence against Covid? Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that intensive care units are coming under increasing strain because of unvaccinated Covid patients.

Finland has dropped a lot of the restrictions it had in place to hold down Covid cases, but the pandemic continues, even if those who are vaccinated are now much less likely to be offered a PCR test under Finland's new testing strategy.

Case numbers are increasing and if people are unvaccinated, the illness can be quite serious indeed.

Tero Varpula, Chief Physician in Intensive Care at Espoo's Jorvi hospital, says that his unit is starting to feel the strain.

He says that the few ICU patients with coronavirus who have had two doses of a Covid vaccine have other serious medical issues — they could be cancer patients or organ transplant recipients.

Varpula urges people to get vaccinated to keep them out of hospital even if they do get Covid, saying that it is now more difficult to transfer ICU patients to other units across the country because infections are rising everywhere.

If this situation continues, it may be difficult to provide normal ICU space for accidents, post-operative care and other everyday aspects of hospital operations.

As of Monday, some 74 percent of the population aged 12 or over had received two doses of an approved Covid vaccine.

Meanwhile HS also carries a letter (siirryt toiseen palveluun) from Olli Ruuskanen, an emeritus professor of infectious diseases, who says that continual use of antibacterial gel could do more harm than good.

Ruuskanen says the gels kill good bacteria as well as bad, and could well be a waste of time. That's because Covid spreads primarily through aerosols, with much less evidence of transmission on surfaces.

Ruuskanen says, therefore, that face masks and social distancing are the best ways to prevent the spread of Covid.

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Lapland return

Finland's tourism industry took a hit during the pandemic, with holidays in Lapland suffering from a lack of Asian visitors.

Kauppalehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on Tuesday that the industry is now bouncing back, with European visitors replacing those from east Asia.

KL talks to local tourism officials who are particularly excited about direct flights from Paris to Rovaniemi, which are due to start in December.

In 2019 tourists spent some 290 million euros in Rovaniemi, but that fell to just 162 million euros in 2020, according to the local tourist board.

They are projecting a total spend of some 258 million euros in 2022. However, guaranteeing service levels to foreign tourists is an issue, with many workers having left the industry during the pandemic.

Gambling issues

Iltalehti publishes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) a deep dive on the gambling industry, in which one former employee of a gaming firm admits that the companies tend to block successful punters and make huge profits from gambling addicts.

Getting your winnings paid out from a gambling firm can also be problematic, according to IL's sources. The ex-employee says that firms try to delay paying out in the hope that customers will start to spend their winnings on new games, and lose.

The paper interviews one man who said he had to get lawyers involved to withdraw some 110,000 euros he had in his account at Betfair after a winning bet on the US Presidential election.

It took two months for his legal team to get the cash, and his legal costs alone were 1,600 euros, but he wondered what would happen to those who are unable to hire lawyers.