Monday's papers: Push to ban workplace Covid passports, language barriers, lost in the woods

Ilta-Sanomat reports that a citizens' initiative to ban the introduction of Covid passports in the workplace will be taken up by Finnish lawmakers.

Parliament will now be obliged to consider limits on the use of the digital Covid certificate. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

A citizens' initiative opposing the introduction of Covid passports in workplaces has gathered the required 50,000 signatures needed to be taken up by Parliament.

According to an STT report carried by the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), the initiative calls for a law in Finland that would prevent the introduction of a corona passport in the workplace. The initiative notes that every citizen should have the right to work regardless of vaccination status.

In practice, "passport" in this context refers to the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which is available from the My Kanta online service, or in printed form from healthcare providers. The passport enables people to gain entry to various events. Obtaining one requires vaccination against Covid-19, a certificate of a recent negative test result, or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19.

The initiative to legally ban workplace Covid passport requirements gathered the required number of signatures within a week of its launch.

It has been reported that the government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is considering extending a Covid passport to some jobs.

Visit to ICU

Monday's Keskisuomalainen carries a report (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on a visit to the intensive care unit of Jyväskylä's Nova hospital.

Since the start of the pandemic, about 50 Covid patients have passed through Nova's ICU. The vast majority of them have recovered from the disease, a number have to be sent to Kuopio for care, a few have died. In the very worst cases, some patients did not even make it into the ICU, as their prognosis was deemed too poor for recovery. Keskisuomalainen paints a very bleak picture of patients in the ICU, describing their experience as like spending weeks in a black hole and awakening in an incomprehensibly weak physical state.

It also writes that it is not yet known what the long-term effects disease will be.

Medical staff in the unit repeatedly stressed to the paper the importance of vaccination and their lack of understanding why anyone would oppose it.

"If people only knew what they were avoiding, they would take the vaccine," Nova ICU nurse Marika Kivelä said.

Language barriers

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun)takes up the issue of continuing language barriers faced by many immigrants in the Finnish job market.

In a feature article based on a survey carried out during the summer, the paper relates numerous examples from respondents of what they consider unreasonable Finnish language proficiency requirements during job searches.

Nearly 550 immigrants responded to the survey, many of whom were actually fluent in Finnish. Many of those in the HS survey feel that demanding language requirements are not only about the need for Finnish, but also about the fact that companies are afraid to hire people from different backgrounds.

Over half of the 720 suspected violations of workplace equality laws investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2020 related to foreign labour rights. Of these, some 60 concerned discrimination on the basis of origin, nationality or language.

Of these, 26 were forwarded to police for criminal investigation. In most of these cases, the reason was a job advertisement that required Finnish as a mother tongue, "perfect" Finnish or an unreasonably high level of fluency.

Lost in the Woods

Close to three-quarters of Finland's land area is covered by forest, and the Swedish-language Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun)carries a cautionary tale of how easy it is to get lost, especially at this time of year when darkness descends early and quickly.

A family on a weekend outing in the forest in Satakunta lost their way in the dense woods and were unable to find their way once the dark closed in.

Using the public emergency 112 phone app, they were able to contact authorities who the used a drone equipped with a thermal camera to locate them only about 100 metres from where they'd left their car.

According to the police, the family was never any serious danger. However, in this case, police pointed out, they had the advantages of being warmly dressed, well-equipped and acting sensibly.

Warmer weather, but also slippery roads

Tampere's Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) has photos of the dense fog that engulfed the city Sunday evening, and notes that the road administration Fintraffic has issued a warning of bad driving conditions in western parts of the country for Monday morning because of fog and icy road surfaces.

The paper reports, though, that the Finnish Meteorological Institute is forecasting slightly warmer temperatures and mainly cloudy, grey autumn weather for the next few days.

Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun)writes that motorists in Finnish Lapland should prepare for extremely hazardous driving conditions as snowfall gives way to freezing rain.