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Monday's papers: Omicron's threat, nurse bonuses nixed and more rescue funding

Domestic media outlets explore the latest Covid news as Omicron looms over the Christmas holidays.

Health experts in Finland say PPE use should continue as Omicron spreads in Finland. Image: Jorge Gonzalez / Yle

In the coming weeks, the highly contagious coronavirus variant Omicron will spread in Finland to the point of impacting the functioning of society, reports Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), quoting an interview with virology professor Olli Vapalahti.

HUS' diagnostics director, Lasse Lehtonen,told the paper that Omicron's high transmission rates are the problem.

"We have to protect essential workers. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and restrictions should be extended. Efforts should be made to secure electricity supply, logistics as well as the food industry," he said.

Last week, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) reported that Omicron had become the dominant coronavirus variant in the capital region.

No bonus programme for nurses

Meanwhile, the HUS hospital district has reversed plans to pay its nurses bonuses, reports Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Plans were in the works to reward nurses working with Covid patients. But HUS' board now says special bonuses need more scrutiny in terms of workers' equal treatment.

"All of us nurses feel duped. It feels like we're not valued. Nobody can live on thank you cards and gratitude doesn't pay the bills," one HUS nurse told the paper.

Many units within HUS are facing staff shortages either due to illness or people quitting. At the same time the district is diverting resources from other units to intensive care.

Finding the money

Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintilä (Cen) has instructed his ministry to make preparations for a sixth round of Covid rescue funding, reports Taloussanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), citing Social Democratic publication Demokraatti.

"This is something Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee has required. We have to start finding the money for it from somewhere," Lintilä told Demokraatti.

Lintilä previously said money had run out for any additional state support for businesses hit by the pandemic.

"The state always has money, but that means it's taken away from something else."