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Coronavirus latest: Finland reports highest-ever number of new cases and four more deaths on Friday, more than 16,000 confirmed cases so far

This article brings you the latest updates on the novel coronavirus pandemic in Finland.

Työntekijöitä Helsingin Messukeskuksen drive-in-testauspisteellä lokakuussa.
Health care workers at a coronavirus drive-in testing centre at Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
  • 16,113 lab-confirmed infections as of Saturday 31.10 (up by 203 since Friday)
  • 358 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Friday 30.10 (up by 4 since Wednesday)
  • 58 people in hospital, 10 of whom in intensive care as of Friday 30.10
  • Hospital districts report on deaths and hospitalised patients on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

31.10 Despite Friday's peak, overall cases down slightly in past 2 weeks

On Saturday the national health institute THL announced 203 more Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections to over 16,000.

Over the past two weeks though, the number of cases has gone down by 82 compared to the previous fortnight.

On Friday the THL reported the highest single-day total of new cases recorded so far, 344. The number of people being tested now is much higher than during the initial phase of the pandemic. Last spring, some health officials suggested that the actual number of cases could be 10 or even a dozen times higher than the official tally.

Also on Friday, the death toll rose by four to 358. Nearly 60 patients were in hospital, 10 of them in intensive care units. The THL will next update these figures on Monday.

30.10 13:40 Passport renewals down

Passport applications in Finland have fallen by nearly half since last year as the pandemic grounds many people’s overseas travel plans. But many situations still require residents hold a valid passport to prove their identity.

More on this story here.

30.10 12:01 Finland reports 344 new cases

Finland recorded 344 new lab-confirmed Covid-19 infections on Friday, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, THL, bringing the total number of infections to 15,910.

The Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) reported the highest number of new cases, 178, followed by hospital authorities in Southwest Finland and Vaasa, with 58 and 22 new cases respectively.

This was the highest single-day total of new cases recorded so far. However, testing capacity was far lower last spring, so many cases likely went undetected.

30.10 11:43 Airport operator Finavia to slash nearly 500 jobs

The state-owned airport operator says it will take years for the airline industry to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Finavia and its ground and passenger services subsidiary Airpro plan to restructure their businesses, continue furloughs and cut as many as 480 jobs, due to impacts of the coronavirus crisis, according to the company.

Read more here.

30.10 10:13 HUS: Covid heart problems not very common

Friday's newspaper review found Helsingin Sanomat reporting that coronavirus-induced heart problems may not be as common as people initially thought, following alarming reports earlier this year by German scientists.

"In our experience heart problems are not as common or serious as international findings would lead us to believe" said cardiologist Riina Kandolin from the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS).

Read the whole paper review here.

29.10 20:01 New coronavirus restrictions for bars and restaurants

The updated coronavirus restrictions for five regions in Finland will run from 1 November until 15 December.

More details here.

29.10 19:13 Veikkausliiga cancels playoffs amid Covid quarantines

Helsinki men's football team HJK are now highly likely to win the championship.

More on the story here.

29.10 18:04 New Finnish study sheds light on workings of coronavirus

Age and gender don't play a significant role in how the coronavirus infects humans, according to fresh research by the University of Tampere's professor Seppo Parkkila and doctoral researcher Harlan Barker.

Read more here.

29.10 16:55 Yle News' APN podcast talks data hack, Covid-safe sports

On Thursday the All Points North Podcast discusses efforts to ensure that sports are corona-safe given their role in maintaining wellbeing during the pandemic. Denise and Zena also delve into Finland's recent massive data breach and many other topics, including the prospect of continuing to turn clocks back and forth every year to make the most of daylight hours.

You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Blog continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

29.10 13:35 Finland's corona alert app hits 2.5 million downloads, infection spike levels off

The app is available in three languages. More on the story here.

29.10 12:12 Supo: Far right threat has increased in Finland

Coronavirus pandemic has led to increased cyber espionage, according to the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service Supo. More to read here.

29.10 10:42 188 new infections in Finland

THL reported 188 new infections in the last day, with the total now standing at 15,566 coronavirus infections in the country.

Reported infection rates have levelled off slightly, according to Mika Salminen of THL.

"Finns have succeeded in keeping social distance and taking care of hygiene," said Salminen.

29.10 9:30 Finns love lockdown, and other stories

Today's paper review includes a Eurobarometer survey that suggests Finns weren't too gutted about restrictions on their social life earlier in the year, with 23 percent reporting that coronavirus changes actually improved their lives.

Read the whole review here.

28.10 20:17 Covid-sniffing dogs get kennel club's Special Hero award

The four Covid-19 sniffer dogs who work at Helsinki Airport screening passengers for the illness have received a Special Hero Dog Award from the Finnish Kennel Club for their work.

The dogs started work sniffing for Covid at the airport at the end of September.

Read more about the kennel club award here.

28.10 17:51 Palta: Majority of Covid job losses yet to come

The coronavirus crisis has had a major negative impact on many service industries including passenger transportation, tourism, the events industry and the personal services sector.

According to the Service Sector Employers' group (Palta), the effects of the crisis will expand to other sectors as well. Palta is an advocacy group for service sector companies and communities.

Read more here.

28.10 12:01 Finnair passenger numbers, profits plunge in Q3

Finland's national airline Finnair has revealed a loss of 167 million euros during July to September this year due to the ongoing effects and travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Passenger numbers during the quarter fell by 89 percent.

"Travel restrictions, which are particularly strict in Finland, led us to deviate from our plans and we continued to operate a restricted network throughout the quarter. This was reflected in our passenger numbers, revenue and result," Finnair CEO Topi Manner wrote in the company's interim report press release.

Read more on this story here.

28.10 11:49 Finland reports 215 new cases on Wednesday

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported 215 new lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 15,378.

THL also announced that there are currently 65 people being treated in hospital for the virus, 10 of whom are in intensive care. No further deaths linked to the virus have been reported in Finland today.

28.10 10:43 HUS launches study into effects of Long Covid

The Helsinki University hospital district (HUS) has announced plans to launch a follow-up study into the long-term effects of coronavirus on issues such as patients' respiratory difficulties and quality of life. The study, which will include 300 coronavirus patients, will seek to discover where the virus can lead to permanent functional impairment in the lungs and reduce over quality of life in the long term.

For more on Long Covid, and the effects on patients, read our story here or listen to a discussion about the topic on the latest episode of All Points North from the link below.

Blog continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

28.10 10:43 Masks mandated at sports facilities

The Helsinki region says it wants people to wear masks at indoor sports facilities, but not while they're engaged in exercise.

"The Helsinki Metropolitan Area implore private companies and non-profit organisations that manage recreational premises and activities to adhere to the same procedures as their city-led counterparts to prevent the spreading of the virus," the press release stated.

Our story is here.

28.10 9:36 Papers: Telecommuting while sick on the increase

Helsingin Sanomat reports on Wednesday morning that many people are choosing to work despite being sick, because they can do so easily from home.

Read more on this story, and the rest of our paper review, here.

27.10 17:32 Helsinki Airport offers empty car park for winter boat storage

The coronavirus crisis has led to a collapse in air travel, and Finland's airport operators have been forced to think outside the box. Airport operator Finavia has come up with the idea of offering Helsinki Airport's indoor car part for the winter storage of cars and boats.

There is more on this story here.

27.10 16:40 Finland reports 193 new cases on Tuesday

Finland reported 193 new lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 15,163.

Some 2,664 infections have been reported over the last two weeks, which is 57 more cases than in the previous two weeks.

27.10 15:22 Charity project aims to support Lapland's sled dogs

Stand-up comedian Jean-Eric "Zaani" Chaumentin and entrepreneur Ville Wallenius have launched an international charity project aimed at saving thousands of sled dogs left out of work by the collapse of tourism to Lapland due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more on this story here.

27.10 14:42 THL corona update later than usual on Tuesday

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has announced a delay in the reporting of lab-confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The reports are usually made available shortly after midday on weekdays.

27.10 9:49 Paper: Tension between Helsinki Mayor and government

Finland's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat, carries an article claiming that relations are tense between Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) and the government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).

The cause of the tensions, it writes, is a government decision-in-principle announced Friday restricting free time activities and public events in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Read more of Tuesday's extensive press review here.

26.10 20:35 HUS: Few infections in schools

Very few children have fallen ill with Covid-19 in Finland’s largest healthcare district, the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS), doctors said on Monday. Those who have tested positive for coronavirus have had mild symptoms, they added.

According to Professor Harri Saxén of the New Children’s Hospital, “the situation in schools remains good. There is no reason to switch to distance learning at this point,” although “the situation is different in the Vaasa region” of western Finland, where the virus is spreading.

Read our article here.

26.10 15:35 Pandemic drives rethink of home design

The massive upswing in the number of people working from home since the start of the coronavirus epidemic has brought a push to include workspaces for telecommuting in all types of housing in Finland.

A number of Finnish housing associations are considering offering residents dedicated teleworking facilities.

Full story here.

26.10 12:49 122 new coronavirus cases in Finland

Finland reported 122 new lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 14,970. The highest number of new cases was diagnosed in the Helsinki University Hospital District, which recorded 81 new infections. Hospital districts in Vaasa and Northern Ostrobothnia reported 10 and seven new cases respectively.

26.10 10:03 Queries over Covid and personal privacy

Turku-based daily Turun Sanomat, reports Monday morning that Finland's Data Protection Ombudsman has received a large number of inquiries about personal privacy issues related to the coronavirus epidemic, especially in working life. These issues have been mainly questions such as whether or not taking an employee’s temperature or and reporting a coronavirus infection to the authorities is a violation of privacy. Read more about this story as well as extensive coverage of the recent Vastaamo psychotherapy centre data breach, in today's newspaper roundup.

Previous updates archived here.

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