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Coronavirus updates

25.10 15:25 Finland reports 196 new infections

Finland has reported 196 new coronavirus infections today, bringing the nationwide total to 14,848 cases.

The highest number of new infections were reported in the hospital districts of Helsinki and Uusimaa (118), the hospital district of Kymenlaakso (22) and the hospital district of Southwest Finland (16). According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s data, as of Friday, there are 70 people in hospitals, 11 of whom are in intensive care.

24.10 18:03 Covid CO2 dip is over, says WMO boss

Global carbon emissions fell in April as countries locked down, but are now back up to the same levels as last year, according to Petteri Taalas, the Finnish Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation.

Taalas was interviewed on Yle's Ykkösaamu programme, and you can read our writeup here.

24.10 13:25 Sick leave down despite Covid

A government report says that sick leave in Finland has dropped 30 percent since the government recommended people work from home when they can.

The drop was even bigger in the public sector. Our story is here.

24.10 13:22 178 new cases

Finland has recorded 178 new coronavirus infections in the last day, according to THL. The total of Covid-19 infections now stands at 14,652.

There have been a total of 353 deaths linked to coronavirus.

23.10 20:00 Lapland tourism to lose 60% of business this winter

A majority of Lapland tourism industry operators say that reservations booked by overseas tourists have collapsed during the past four weeks. According to a survey by the Finnish Lapland Tourist Board (LME), more than 60 percent of Christmas season reservations for trips to the region have been cancelled. More about that story here.

23.10 18:38 Local, regional bodies to apply team sports guidelines

Government announced a decision in principle on Friday regarding coronavirus guidelines for group hobbies and team sports.

The policy transfers responsibility to municipalities and municipal associations for issuing regional recommendations for team activities during basic, accelerating and spreading stages of the epidemic. Each stage will have corresponding safety precautions that must be observed if public events are organised. Read more on this story here.

23.10 17:54 Crisis furloughs 40k tech industry workers

Weak demand continues to plague technology firms, according to lobby group Technology Industries of Finland. At the end of September, nearly 40,000 workers in the technology sector were furloughed, according to a release issued on Friday. Almost one-third of firms recently surveyed said that weak demand was worrying them a great deal a sentiment that has remained virtually unchanged throughout the autumn. Read the full story here.

23.10 16:10 Long Covid sufferers look for comfort, relief

People grappling with long-term symptoms after coming down with Covid-19 are flocking to a Facebook group to find understanding and support for their situation. They are also calling on the medical and scientific community to better recognise their condition and to develop treatment options.

Members of the peer support group all report similar symptoms, including shortness of breath, limb numbness, muscle cramps, a dry cough and general fatigue. Read more about the condition and what's being done to understand it in our special report.

23.10 16:01 Citing coronavirus, Viking Line slashes 180 jobs

Baltic ferry firm Viking Line said it was eliminating or reassigning 180 jobs following the conclusion of co-determination talks. The company said the job cuts were due to market deterioration in the travel sector caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The firm said roughly 70 of the laid-off workers are to be offered new positions and employment arrangements at the company.

The affected workers are ground operations staff in Finland and Åland, the company said.

The coronavirus crisis has continued to cause headaches for the company. In its third quarter report issued on Wednesday, the firm said it had an operating income of -35.2 million euros during January to September.

23.10 14:22 Player infections cast doubt over end of football season

Five players from the Veikkausliiga side IFK Mariehamn have tested positive for coronavirus, raising questions over how Finnish football’s top division can play out the end of this season.

There is more on this story here.

23.10 13:24 Nordea records solid Q3 gains despite crisis

Nordea Bank, the largest financial services group in the Nordic countries, has announced a strong Q3 result, attributing a growth in revenue to increased customer activity. The financial group said that it saw record high operating profits in most business areas. Operating profit increasing by 24 percent compared to the third quarter of 2019, reaching just under 1.1 billion euros between July and September. Read more on this story here.

23.10 12:03 Finland sees 219 new cases on Friday

Finland reported 219 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infections to 14,474.

The Institute for Health and Welfare THL also indicated that the number of deaths linked to coronavirus in Finland now stands at 353, two less than the figure provided on Wednesday. THL explained that this was due to the re-classification of three earlier deaths that had been linked to Covid-19. One further person has died since Wednesday.

There are now 70 people in hospital being treated for the virus, with 11 in intensive care.

23.10 11:52 Covid crisis motivates Finns to volunteer in record numbers

The results of a survey conducted by online volunteering service Vapaaehtoistyö has found that more people in Finland than ever before are offering to volunteer in order to help others during the coronavirus crisis.

Read more on this story here.

23.10 9:20 HS: Finland's seventh supplementary budget to reach €2bn

Helsingin Sanomat reports that, according to its sources, the government is preparing a two-billion-euro supplementary budget to help the Finnish economy recover from the coronavirus crisis -- a story that is picked up by many of the rest of Friday morning’s papers.

Read more about this and other stories in our newspaper roundup.

22.10 17:03 Government unveils €100m regional stimulus package

The government says it will grant more than 100 million euros to stimulate the pandemic-hit economy in various regions of the country.

"The aim is to reform the economic structure so that it relies on competence and innovation and has an international orientation. These recovery measures will promote digitalisation and support the creation of a sustainable and carbon-neutral society," the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said on Thursday.

Full story here.

22.10 16:05 APN Podcast discusses effects of 'long Covid'

This week the All Points North Podcast spoke with Joni Savolainen, an IT professional struggling to return to normalcy through a fog of long-term Covid-19 symptoms.

THL scientist Hanna Nohynek told APN that researchers in Finland have started looking at people experiencing symptoms long after diagnosis and speculated that if all goes well, a vaccine for the disease could be ready for distribution early next year.

To hear more about this and other stories, listen to this week's edition of All Points North.

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

22.10 12:42 Government plans €350m bailout for Finavia

Finland's government is looking to recapitalise Finnish airport operator Finavia to the tune of 350 million euros in order to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the company.

There is more on this story here.

22.10 12:03 Production of Hollywood movie 'Dual' moves to Tampere

Hollywood producers have chosen the Finnish city of Tampere as the filming location for sci-fi thriller 'Dual', partly due to Finland's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Read more on this story here.

22.10 11:59 Finland sees 184 new cases on Thursday

Finland reported 184 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 14,255.

22.10 11:35 STM: Infection rate stabilising after weeks of rising numbers

There are signs that Finland's rising rate of coronavirus infections is beginning to abate, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

At a jointly-held press conference on Thursday morning, the ministry said that the incidence of new cases last week was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 29.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants the previous week.

However, the regions of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Southwest Finland and Southern Ostrobothnia, and now also Åland, were said to be in an accelerating phase of the epidemic. THL's latest figures also revealed that about 80 percent of all recent coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in those aged under 50, and nearly half in those under 30.

22.10 9:01 Papers: Masks during childbirth causes heated debate

A new recommendation on the use of face masks during childbirth, which was issued by the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District HUS on Wednesday, led to some very heated discussion on social media, Finland's press reports on Thursday morning.

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

21.10 20:40 Government preparing changes to 'dual test' travel model

Government sources have revealed to Yle that the government is finalising changes to the current travel model which, if passed, would see tourists coming into Finland for three days only required to produce a negative test result from their country of origin.

More here.

21.10 16:24 Viking Line reports drop in profits, revenue despite peak season

The coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on Viking Line's operations, with the passenger and cargo ferry company reporting on Wednesday that operating income has dropped by 35.2 million euros so far this year compared to the same period last year.

There is more on this story here.

21.10 13:57 Face masks saving speeding drivers from fines

The recommendation to use face masks in public spaces is causing challenges for Finland's newly-installed traffic surveillance cameras, as a small percentage of drivers cannot be identified due to the facial coverings -- and are therefore escaping fines.

Read more on this story here.

21.10 13:07 Finland reports 222 new Covid cases, 4 more deaths

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported 222 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of overall infections to 14,071.

THL also reported four further deaths linked to the virus.

21.10 11:46 Nursing home probe focuses on financial gain

Lännen Media reports that police are looking into whether the owners of a nursing home in Kiuruvesi where twelve people died after testing positive for Covid-19 may have benefitted financially from under-resourcing its operation.

Our story is here.

21.10 9:26 Paper ponders exercise in age of coronavirus

In our press review on Wednesday, we found Ilta-Sanomat's story about the impact of coronavirus restrictions on the shape of the population -- specifically the body shape of much of the population.

Working from home reduces commutes to zero and many forms of group exercise have been restricted since coronavirus entered our lives.

Read more on this and other stories featured in the press review.

20.10 18:47 Three Covid-related deaths at one of Helsinki's largest nursing homes

Three residents have died of coronavirus-related illness this month at one of Helsinki's largest nursing homes, the Tilkka care centre, according to information obtained by Yle.

Read more here.

20.10 16:25 Restrictions to tighten on nightclubs, ease on sit-down eateries

Finnish bars and nightclubs will in future be under tighter restrictions than restaurants and cafes after a historic decision to define differences between different forms of hospitality businesses.

Previously the term 'restaurant' had covered all types of eateries and watering holes, with coronavirus restrictions applied evenly across the sector

Read more here.

20.10 13:26 THL: No sign of pandemic slowing

The state of the Covid-19 epidemic varies from place to place in Finland, but it is nevertheless at full throttle, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) director Mika Salminen told reporters on Tuesday.

"There is no slowdown in sight, rather the pandemic is still in full swing," Salminen said during a status update on the situation.

Salminen pointed out that determined action, which does not necessarily mean a full lockdown of society -- can still influence the development of the epidemic.

Read more here.

20.10 13:20 Finland sees 294 new Covid cases on Tuesday

Finland reported 294 new lab-confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, Taneli Puumalainen, senior physician with public health agency THL said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Puumalainen said that Tuesday's figures also include positive Covid-19 test results from the past few days.

20.10 10:55 Finnair slashes 700 jobs -- 600 in Finland

State-owned airline Finnair has announced a total of 700 job cuts after co-determination talks with trade unions. Some 600 of the redundancies will occur in Finland, with 100 jobs lost overseas.

Talks with Finnish unions centred on 2,800 jobs affected by the dramatic reduction in demand for aviation over recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions. Cabin crew and pilots were not included in those talks. Read more about the payroll cuts here.

20.10 09:20 Papers focus on contact tracing concerns in Uusimaa

In most of Finland, contact tracing has worked well in suppressing the disease. However in Uusimaa, the weekly proportion of cases that could not be traced back to another patient ran from 63 percent of infections to 80 percent, reports daily Helsingin Sanomat. Our morning paper roundup also looks at the progress of Tampere's tram network and a businessman offering people the chance to plump large sums for a hotel room-cum-office. Read the full digest here.

Previous updates here.

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