Tuesday's papers: Unvaccinated most at risk, trans law reforms, and a poll suggests Russians just love Finland

Morning papers report that rising coronavirus infection rates for the unvaccinated includes a surge among young children.

A renewed surge in coronavirus infections is a major topic in the Finnish newspaper press. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

The tabloid Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun)quotes HUS Chief Physician Asko Järvinen as saying that at present, the risk of coronavirus infection faced by the unvaccinated is higher than ever, and he called for tight restrictions to be applied to people who have not yet taken the vaccine.

Speaking on Monday, Järvinen did point out, though, that the biggest factor an infection developing into a life-threatening disease is advanced age. According to Järvinen, the median age of those who have died from the coronavirus is 82.

New drugs have yielded promising results, but Järvinen stated that the problem with these treatments is that the drugs should be taken at an early stage when many patients are not even aware that they have been infected.

Surge among kids

Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) meanwhile reports that new cases of infection among children under the age of 10 are higher than in any other age group.

It writes that of the coronavirus infections reported on Monday, 614 were children aged 0–10. The second highest number of infections was in the 11–20 age group, where 605 infections were reported.

Paediatric Infectious Disease Physician Tea Nieminen of the HUS New Children's Hospital points out that infections are now spreading among those who have not been vaccinated, and under-12 year-olds are a large part of this group.

Vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-olds began in August, but the vaccine has not been made available to children under 12. It is not yet known when vaccination of younger children may be started.

Although children's infections have been on the rise, Nieminen told the paper that this has not been reflected in children's emergency services. HUS currently has no children receiving treatment for a coronavirus infection.

No workplace passport requirement this year

Last week, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) announced that the use of the Covid passport, showing vaccination and/or testing status, could potentially be extended to workplaces.

Iltalehti writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that many larger employers in Finland such as shipyards and the construction industry, which use a lot of foreign labor, have had problems due to consistently high infection rates among workers. Employers have hoped to be able to require employees to have a Covid passport to alleviate the situation.

According to this paper, if a passport requirement is imposed, it will not be happening before the end of the year.

Mirka-Tuulia Kuoksa, a lawyer at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, told Iltalehti that although the issue is being examined in connection with extending the use of the Covid passport it requires such extensive preparation that it is unlikely to come before Parliament before the Christmas recess.

Trans law considerations

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) notes that Parliament is currently discussing a citizens' initiative calling for reform of Finland's transgender legislation, and in this context asks why officials even need to know a person's gender.

In answer, it reviews some of the other legislation that may be impacted by amendments to transgender law.

The most obvious is the law on conscription. At present, only men are conscripted in Finland and conscription is based on the legal gender.

In addition to conscription, another major piece of legislation that uses information about gender is the Equality Act. This includes statistical and reporting obligations based on gender. For example, the law stipulates that state committees, advisory boards and other similar bodies must have at least 40 percent representation of both women and men.

There are also, for example, laws or regulations in force that provide separate facilities according to gender. Laws on legal detention and prison facilities contain provisions that men and women must be kept in separate spaces.

And, the paper points out, the law on maternity benefits specifies that it is women that receive a maternity allowance from state funds.

Russians positive about Finland

Kuopio's Savon Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun)is among the papers reporting that a fresh poll commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs shows that the majority of Russians still have a positive attitude towards Finland.

Of the some 1,800 Russians who responded to the survey, 68 percent said they have a positive or very positive attitude towards Finland. That was down slightly from 71 percent in a similar survey two years ago.

65 per cent of Russians describe relations between Finland and Russia as good.

The most famous Finn in the survey was the actor Ville Haapasalo, who has made his film career in Russia. He was recognized by almost a quarter of respondents. In second place, at 14 percent, was Finland's wartime commander and post-war president Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim and in third, at 13 percent was former racing driver Mika Häkkinen.

Only one percent of the respondents recognized the name of the current president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.