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Coronavirus latest: 420 cases, new restrictions in place, vaccine strategy announced

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

Kasvomaskiin pukeutunut nainen katsoo jouluvaloin koristeltua tavaratalon ikkunaa.
Helsinki Metropolitan Area authorities have announced a slew of stricter measures to combat the rapidly deteriorating coronavirus situation. Image: Tiina jutila / Yle
  • 25,882 lab-confirmed infections as of Wednesday 2.12 (up by 420 since Monday 30.11)
  • 408 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Wednesday 2.12
  • 165 people in hospital, 21 of them in intensive care (patients down by 10 since Monday 30.11)
  • Hospital districts report on deaths and hospitalised patients on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

3.12 9:28 Papers: Coronavirus vaccine strategy, and concerns

Finland's press on Thursday morning is full of reports about the government's strategy for a vaccination programme aimed at bringing the coronavirus epidemic under control.

One paper, Helsingin Sanomat, also writes that many healthy middle-aged and young people are concerned about the potential risks associated with the vaccine.

Read more on these stories, and the rest of our paper review, here.

2.12 19:13 Far right protest cancelled due to limits on public events

Coronavirus restrictions have led to the cancellation of a planned demonstration in the city of Tampere on Finland's Independence Day by a far right group called Suomi herää or 'Finland Awakes'.

Read more on this story here.

2.12 17:16 Finnish hockey league set for unscheduled break

The Finnish Hockey League is preparing to postpone fixtures as the latest coronavirus restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend public events come into effect.

There is more on this story here.

2.12 15:52 Demand for masks rise, but supply shortage unlikely

Finland's biggest retail chains are reporting a spike in demand for face masks as the coronavirus situation deteriorates, but they reassure customers that there are adequate supplies to meet the increased demand.

Read more on this story here.

2.12 13:56 Valmet furloughs, UPM redundancies

Finnish pulp, paper and energy industry firm Valmet has announced that 372 workers will be furloughed, or temporarily laid-off, for a maximum of 90 days after the conclusion of co-determination talks with employee representatives. In a press release, Valmet said that the lay-offs were due to continued uncertainty and low workloads caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The negotiations had included nearly 1,000 of the company's 5,000+ workforce in Finland.

Meanwhile, forestry firm UPM has said it will shed 181 jobs in Finland after the completion of separate co-determination discussions.

2.12 12:54 HUS bans hospital visits

Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS) has banned visitors at its hospitals. There are some exceptions for severely ill patients, but it is hoped the measure will help slow the spread of Covid. Our story is here.

2.12 12:40 Poll: Trust in politicians dips after Covid spring peak

Trust in Finnish politicians has fallen this year, according to a survey by the pro-market think tank Eva.

In October around a quarter of respondents said they trusted information given by politicians. In the same survey in the spring, around half of respondents said the same thing.

Read more here.

2.12 12:10 420 new cases

THL has announced that Finland recorded 420 new cases in the last 24 hours. That brings the total of confirmed infections to 25,882.

Some 256 of the new infections were recorded in the Helsinki region, with South-west Finland accounting for 28 and Pirkanmaa also at 28.

Meanwhile the health agency also announced a further nine deaths linked to coronavirus since Monday. There are currently 165 people being treated in hospital for the virus, 21 of whom are in intensive care.

2.12 11:03 Nearly a tenth of workers at Stora Enso site test positive

Stora Enso has said that just under a tenth of workers at its site in Oulu have tested positive for coronavirus. You can read our story here.

2.12 9:42 Covid sceptic postpones party following backlash

Nightclub entrepreneur and former football club owner Seppo 'Sedu' Koskinen has been in the headlines recently over his plan to host a 'party' at which guests would pay 200 euros as a 'contribution'.

The plans were widely criticised, and Iltalehti reported on Wednesday, however, that 'Sedu' has relented and moved the party to New Year's Eve instead, while also launching a screed of Covid-denialist invective on social media, saying the 'corona panic' was a 'political show'.

Read about this story and more in our paper review.

1.12 20:00 Little dissent over EU recovery plan in parliament debate

A majority of parliamentary groups have expressed support for Finland’s participation in the EU's Covid recovery plan. Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen (Cen) said that EU’s joint plan supports Finland's and the EU's recovery from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

Government parties' MPs seem to have fallen into line behind the plan, with no opposition from those groups expressed during the debate. Opposition NCP expressed its support too. Read our story here.

1.12 19:27 Independence Day flag ceremony moves to Hämeenlinna

This year for the first time ever, Finland’s traditional Independence Day flag hoisting ceremony will not be held in Helsinki but in Hämeenlinna in the wake of the worsening coronavirus situation in the capital region.

Read our story here.

1.12 18:05 South-Savo and South Karelia enter acceleration phase

The South Savo Social and Health Care Authority (Essote) has announced that the South Savo region has entered the acceleration phase of the coronavirus epidemic. On Tuesday, 14 new coronavirus infections were diagnosed in the area. Essote recommended a 20 person-limit at public events and in museums and other indoor public spaces.

South Karelia has also moved to the acceleration phase of the epidemic. The South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote) will issue new recommendations this week.

1.12 17:40 Labs battle Covid testing supplies shortage

Finland is facing a shortage of coronavirus test supplies, according to Finland's largest laboratory company Fimlab. At the moment, Fimlab has the capacity to process half of the tests in 49 hours. However, the test processing time has increased to three or even four days due to a spike in the number of tests coming in, Filmlab officials said.

Read more on this here.

1.12 16:56 Public events restricted to 10 people in Pirkanmaa region

Public events are restricted to a maximum of 10 people in the Pirkanmaa Hospital District and the municipality of Punkalaitumen, according to an announcement by the Regional State Administrative Agency of Western and Inland Finland on Tuesday. Organising private events with more than 10 people is not recommended.

The restrictions are in place for three weeks from 2 December to 21 December.

Visitors to hospitals and health centres are prohibited except in wards with children, young people and the critically ill. Expectant mothers can still be accompanied by a support person.

Events are restricted to 20 people in municipalities belonging to the hospital districts of Central Ostrobothnia (excluding Reisjärvi), Vaasa, Southern Ostrobothnia and Central Finland.

In addition, public events and general meetings can only be organised if the safety of the participants can be ensured in accordance with the coronavirus guidelines issued by the government.

The coronavirus situation has deteriorated rapidly in Pirkanmaa. A total of 215 infections were diagnosed in the hospital district last week. The region is close to moving from the 'acceleration' phase to 'community spreading' phase, according to authorities.

1.12 14:25 Online shopping boost

Retailers in Finland have seen a massive shift to online shopping during the pandemic. Both S and K groups say customers have switched in large numbers, and they're unlikely to switch back. Our story is here.

1.12 12:50 Second wave peak may come in a fortnight

Finland's regions have introduced new restrictions to try and tackle the second wave of Covid-19 cases, which means -- if all goes well -- the peak may be soon. Even so, people need to keep up their guard and continue to follow recommendations.

Our story is here.

1.12 12:15 550 new cases in Finland

THL announced this morning that there were 550 new coronavirus infections in Finland in the last 24 hours. The total now stands at 25,462.

The biggest increase has been in the Helsinki University hospital district, where some 178 new cases were confirmed. In Pirkanmaa there were 119 new cases and in Päijät-Häme there were 63.

1.12 10:56 List of new restrictions

Several cities and regions have brought in new rules and restrictions to try and slow the rise in coronavirus cases. We've rounded up details from some of the biggest cities here.

1.12 9:30 Christmas plans set to change

Tuesday's paper review has an advent-influenced focus on Christmas plans during the pandemic. Many people are not travelling as they would usually, while hospitals are wondering how they'll staff wards during the holiday season.

Read the full review here.

Read previous updates here.

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