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Monday's papers: NATO sends message, labour exploitation and Omicron shots

Health experts consider Omicron-targeted vaccines while Finland follows NATO-Russian manoeuvres in the Baltic.

The Baltic Sea has been a geopolitical focal point in recent weeks. Image: Jens Köhler/ AOP

NATO has sent Dutch warship HNLMS Rotterdam to the Baltic, reports Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun), citing Sweden's Aftonbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun). The ship is south of Bornholm, a Danish island.

"It's a planned position and they're there to show presence and solidarity with the whole alliance," a NATO spokesperson told Aftonbladet.

Last week three Russian landing vessels sailed into the Baltic Sea via the Danish strait. Sweden responded to the move last Friday by reinforcing its military presence on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

On Friday Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Finland had no plans on joining NATO at the moment, following comments by former Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that Finland and Sweden could become members overnight.

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Exploiting the vulnerable

Police are wrapping up a case involving five cleaning companies suspected of systematically exploiting asylum seekers. These individuals cleaned K-Market stores in the capital region as well as daycares in Espoo, according to Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Investigators said the companies changed their names whenever workers filed complaints with the police or if the tax authorities took an interest in the firms.

Suspected offences relate to employers tricking workers into signing documents making them "light entrepreneurs" who invoice for their salary. This meant the cleaners were not employees, so they could not claim overtime or holiday pay.

The case is headed by Finland's first team of investigators specialised in human trafficking, funded by the Interior Ministry. Human trafficking investigations in the country are severely backlogged, HS reports.

The future of vaccinations

With nearly 40 percent of over-12s boosted with third Covid vaccine doses, Finland is eyeing Pfizer's latest vaccine targeting the Omicron variant.

Kirsi Varhila, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, told Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that Finland could administer the new vaccine this spring.

She noted that as part of the EU's vaccine procurement pool, Finland could access Pfizer's Omicron vaccine in March following authorisation by the European Medicines Agency.