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Wednesday's papers: Quarantines and compensation

The second wave of the epidemic's possible impact on national and personal finances dominates Finland's headlines.

Lastenvaatteita roikuu aidalla.
Young children in Finland come down with several colds per year. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

On Wednesday the Finance Ministry wraps up its budget proposal which will form the basis of budget framework discussions next month. Business daily Kauppalehti cites Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen (Cen) saying that proper management of the coronavirus epidemic would be the best economic policy in the coming months.

"We can’t afford to have another 20-billion-euro deficit like last spring," Vanhanen said, adding that the export industry wouldn’t be seeing rescue funding reaching into the billions in next year’s budget.

The government is now attempting to manage a second wave by focusing on individuals arriving from countries with high infection rates, according to KL.

Quarantine compensation, but not for everyone

Earlier this week the government said individuals arriving to Finland from countries with high infection rates will be required to quarantine for 14 days under penalty of law.

Following up on that news, business magazine Talouselämä’s most-read story concerns special benefits for people under mandatory quarantine. TE reports that the public social insurance institute Kela will match full salaries for individuals with annual incomes up to 30,000 euros.

Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP) has meanwhile been questioning the logistical and legal implications of forced quarantine, saying the news came to her as a surprise.

Parents in limbo

Both Helsingin Sanomat and Hufvudstadsbladet take up the plight of parents with children in daycare.

The slightest runny nose will now prompt staff to call parents to pick up their child as current health guidelines recommend children with minor symptoms to seek testing. But this is easier said than done. The process - from booking an appointment to finally receiving results - can take up to a week as testing capacity in the capital region, for example, is straining to meet demand.

Parents with children under the age of 10 are entitled to paid leave from employers for a maximum of four days under current labour laws. This past spring Kela offered a temporary 700-euro benefit for parents forced to take unpaid leave to care for children, but this allowance has not been available since emergency measures ended.

Kela benefits manager Johanna Aholainen told HBL that there was no compensation available at the moment for parents staying home with children for many days.

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