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Coronavirus latest: 350 new cases, Finland tightens borders, MPs call for business compensation

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

Opaste koronanäytteenottoon.
Signs pointing to a Covid-19 testing point at the HUS hospital complex in Helsinki's Meilahti district. Image: Matti Myller / Yle
  • 41,915 lab-confirmed infections as of Friday 22.1 (up by 350 since Thursday)
  • 644 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Friday 22.1 (up by 6 since Thursday 21.1)
  • 136 people in hospital, 24 of them in intensive care as of Friday 22.1
  • 83,000 people have received vaccinations as of Friday 22.1
  • THL reports on Covid-related fatalities and hospital patient statistics on weekdays

22.1 21:43 Finland tightens borders, increases testing

Finland is to bar all but essential travel as it looks to curb the spread of new, more highly contagious strains of the coronavirus.

Read more on the latest measures here.

22.1 18:03 No new cases at Tampere care home

There have been no new coronavirus infections detected at the Rauhaniemi hospital for seniors in Tampere this week, according to local authorities.

A total of 13 deaths linked to coronavirus had been reported at the facility since a localised outbreak which began in early December after Covid-exposed staff were told to return to work before their quarantine periods were complete.

22.1 16:08 Oulu police quarantine officers after Covid exposure

More than 20 officers of the Oulu police force have been exposed to coronavirus and been placed in quarantine until next week, according to a report in regional newspaper Kaleva.

Read more on this story here.

22.1 15:12 Over 83,000 now vaccinated

News agency STT reports on Friday afternoon that the number of people to receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Finland has now reached over 83,000.

The highest number of vaccines have been provided in the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS), with about 22,000 doses. The second highest is the Pirkanmaa Hospital District with the Hospital District of Southwest Finland in third.

More than 20,000 people over the age of 70 have now been vaccinated, STT added.

22.1 14:03 Hospital districts deny hoarding vaccine

Hospital officials in Helsinki and Turku have both responded to an inquiry from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for information on their vaccine supplies by saying the need to keep vaccine frozen means it must be distributed to municipalities in measured batches.

There is more on this story here.

22.1 12:42 Mask madness hits Finnish retail

Finland bought more than a million litres of hand sanitiser in 2020, and more than a hundred million face masks.

You can read more detail on the Covid retail boom here.

22.1 12:05 350 new cases

Finland has recorded 350 new confirmed coronavirus cases, said THL on Friday.

The largest share of new infections, 166, was recorded in the Helsinki University hospital district.

In south-west Finland there were 52. In all, Finland has recorded 41,915 confirmed coronavirus infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

22.1 9:28 Border restrictions in the papers

Friday's paper review includes speculation on new restrictions at the border, as Finland tries to clamp down on the spread of new variants of Covid-19. An announcement could come today. Read the review here.

21.1 16:07 APN Podcast: Who gets to have a hobby during Covid?

Debate in Finland has erupted over coronavirus restrictions on kids' hobbies. People are having a difficult time accepting that adults are able to sit in coffee shops and bars until 10pm while most children's activities are off limits.

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

21.1 15:25 Committee: Businesses must be compensated for shutdowns

Finland's efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus got a boost on Thursday, when a key parliamentary committee recommended local authorities could make quick decisions to shut down businesses under a temporary amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act.

The committee said that businesses should be compensated when their rights to operate are restricted.

More details here.

21.1 12:51 Mutated strains still spreading

Finland now has 86 confirmed Covid cases linked to the mutated strains.

The British variant is responsible for 80 of those while six are linked to the South African version. Most of the new variant cases were discovered among travellers and young people.

One infection chain linked to the new virus strains had led to 30 new confirmed cases.

The latest figure was announced at the weekly Covid briefing held on Thursday by THL and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Officials also again expressed concern about the decline in testing, said that more than 90 percent of intensive care unit workers had now been vaccinated, and that Christmas had not brought a spike in Covid cases as feared.

Intensive care units have not seen an increase in workload, with patient numbers remaining stable over recent weeks. Some 67 percent of patients in intensive care with Covid are male.

21.1 11:20 THL concerned about elderly welfare

Finland's national health agency THL says that older people have suffered during the pandemic, and their right to a secure and safe life has not necessarily been guaranteed.

The conclusions are based on THL's local government questionnaire, along with municipalities' Covid-19 situation reports submitted during the pandemic.

Full story here.

21.1 9:40 Covid concerns in the papers

Today's paper review includes concerns about 'test fatigue' as the number of people getting tested dips, and proposals to make it easier for guest workers to isolate if they test positive. Read the review here.

Read previous updates here.

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