Friday's papers: Covid fears, stop signs ignored and Black Friday waste

The press continues to follow stories about Covid, after several developments on Thursday.

Pre-Christmas sales are getting more prominent every year in Finland. Image: Johanna Manu / Yle

Finland's political leadership announced new measures to combat the spread of Covid on Thursday, with restaurant restrictions set to tighten and mask recommendations back in force.

On Friday the papers cover the emergence of a new variant in South Africa (siirryt toiseen palveluun), along with the possible expansion of Covid pass usage to allow event organisers to demand to see a Covid pass.

That reform is in the works, reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) Helsingin Sanomat, but it might not come into force until next February, because MPs' Christmas break traditionally lasts all through January. They could decide to interrupt it, however, if the Covid situation is deemed serious enough.

Ilta-Sanomat, meanwhile, has a look (siirryt toiseen palveluun) at vaccination rates. The paper says that vaccination among those whose native language is not Finnish, Swedish or Sami is running at around 52 percent, compared to overall rates above 80 percent.

The reasons are varied. Foreigners in Finland are younger than the general population, on average, and younger age groups generally have lower vaccine coverage.

It can be more difficult to reach foreign language speakers with public health messages too, according to THL. Outreach efforts are continuing but with flu jabs and booster shots also on the agenda, in some places there are not enough staff to intensively target those who have not yet had their first and second Covid shots.

Stop signs ignored

Iltalehti picked up on a tweet from a Helsinki traffic cop who bemoaned the lack of adherence among drivers for stop signs. Dennis Pasterstein had written 'Report from the field. Stop signs seem to have lost all meaning'.

IL decided (siirryt toiseen palveluun) to film a junction to check the veracity of the claim, and found that yes: most people don't fully stop when they reach a stop sign. They tend to slow right down, but at no point become stationary.

That's not enough, according to the law. If a police officer observes such behaviour, they are entitled to issue a fine. They're not placed on the road for no reason, according to traffic police: there has to be some reason why a junction requires drivers to stop completely.

Do you want a summary of the week's top stories sent to your inbox every Thursday? Then sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Black Friday waste

Helsingin Sanomat has a Black Friday story (siirryt toiseen palveluun) with a difference, focusing on the electronic waste Finns produce and ways that might be reduced.

On average, each person resident in Finland produces some 22 kilograms of electronic waste each year, and the consumption peak associated with Black Friday is a good time to ponder ways to change that.

HS reports on efforts to bring in 'right to repair' rules on an EU-wide basis, forcing manufacturers to ensure their products can be repaired and helping consumers to fix things.

The new rules are set to be unveiled next spring, but they're described as encouraging a shift in mentality to ensure that electronics are durable, fixable, and last as long as possible.

The details, though, are yet to be finalised. Product-specific 'ecodesign' rules have already been announced for dishwashers and fridges, while phones and tablets are next on the agenda.

Juha Toivanen from the Finnish Energy Authority tells HS that he expects these rules to include requirements that phone screens, batteries and covers can be changed. And that batteries should last a minimum period.

The goal is to increase the lifespan of phones, which in Finland last just three years on average at present.

This week's All Points North podcast featured Buy Nothing Day, an anti-consumerist reaction to Black Friday. You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or on your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Article continues after audio.