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Friday's papers: More millionaires, no to women conscripts, novel coronavirus tracking

Morning papers report on more wealthy Finns, a poll rejecting women conscripts, experts calming fears of a new epidemic.

Varusmiehet kävelevät.
A fresh polls found that only about a third of Finns are in favour of conscription for women. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

The country's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat, writes that the number of millionaires in Finland is on the rise.

Drawing on figures from the national tax administration, the paper reports that in 2018 there were 963 private individuals in the country who declared more than one million euros in taxable income. As recently as 2014, there were fewer than 600.

Most of those individuals received most of their income from capital investments.

While these millionaires live in 108 different communities in Finland, by far the most are to be found in Helsinki and Espoo. A third live in Turku. There are 42 in Tampere and 32 in Oulu.

In terms of millionaires per capita, the small municipalities of Kauniainen, just outside Helsinki, and Naantali on the southwest coast lead the pack.

Helsingin Sanomat provides readers with an interactive map for anyone interested in checking out how many millionaires live in their own local area.

Nokia loan

The tabloid Iltalehti reports that Finnish tech company Nokia has taken a 500-million euro loan from the European Investment Bank to use for research and development.

Quoting Reuters, Iltalehti says that news of the loan was contained in Nokia's annual report released late on Thursday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In late 2019, the company halted dividend payouts and said it would need to invest more than it had expected in development of its 5G equipment.

On Monday, Nokia announced that Fortum's Pekka Lundmark will take over as CEO on 1 September. He will be replacing Rajeev Suri, who has led Nokia since 2014 and Nokia Siemens Networks since 2009.

No to women conscripts

Several papers, including Lahti's Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, carry the results of a poll showing that a majority of Finns are opposed to extending military conscription to include women.

The poll, carried out by the Uutissuomalainen news group, found that 54 percent of respondents said "no" to the conscription of women, while only about a third were in favour of the idea.

The survey also showed that while over 40 percent of men back the concept of women being called up for military service, only around a quarter of women gave it their support.

The Finnish government has set up a parliamentary committee to examine changes to the nation's system of military conscription, including the possibility of drafting women.

Epidemic unlikely

Helsinki's Ilta-Sanomat presents expert opinion that the spread of the novel coronavirus is unlikely to reach epidemic proportions in Finland.

As the paper notes, so far there have only been a few individual confirmed cases in the country.

Professor Olli Vapalahti, a specialist in clinical microbiology at the University of Helsinki, told Ilta-Sanomat that health officials know the origin of these cases and it has been possible to keep them contained.

"There are no indications of the virus spreading under the radar. It's not impossible, but there are no signs of this happening at this stage," Professor Vapalahti told the paper.

Vapalahti went on to say that as unfortunate as it is to diagnose a novel coronavirus infection in a patient, it does provide the opportunity to break the chain of infection. He added that the chances of finding any hidden infections will improve as more testing is done, hopefully within the next few weeks.

More than one bug

Finland's main Swedish-language daily, Hufvudstadsbladet, points out that seasonal flu is taking off in Finland, and asks how do you know what you've got when your throat feels like you've swallowed a cactus and your head is pounding.

In addition to seasonal flu, Finns are now also suffering from symptoms caused by RS viruses, adenoviruses, rhinoviruses and previously known coronaviruses.

Hufvudstadsbladet writes that laboratory testing the only sure way to know if a patient is suffering from seasonal flu, a cold or the novel coronavirus. According to Niina Ikonen, specialist in the Institute for Health and Welfare, THL, clinical symptoms are not enough to determine what you are suffering from.

"There are around two hundred cold viruses and we do not test people for them all," says Ikonen.

This year, the RS virus (RSV - respiratory syncytial virus) seems to have peak season in Finland. This virus usually causes mild symptoms that typically mimic the common cold, but can cause coughing and breathing difficulties in children.

"It usually causes a major epidemic every two years and now is such a year" Niina Ikonen told the paper.

Although, as Hufvudstadsbladet notes, the novel coronavirus is receiving a great deal of attention at the moment, THL is closely monitoring how many Finns have fallen ill with seasonal flu.

As of Thursday afternoon, for the current flu season, THL reported 8,305 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza-A and 1,466 cases of influenza-B. This was in contrast to 12 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.

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