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Friday’s papers: Police busy, Nokia struggling, and coronavirus infections

Friday’s papers look at crime, business news and the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

Poliisiauto ajaa oikeustalon portille Helsingissä.
Police officers want more colleagues, according to a survey by their union. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Ilta-Sanomat has a story on a police union survey that finds some worrying indications that officers don’t feel able to do their jobs.

The headline conclusion of the story is that some 60 percent of respondents to the union’s survey said they are too busy to conduct their tasks with as much rigour as they’d like.

The union’s chair Jonne Rinne says some 10 percent of emergency calls are either not answered at all or handled on the phone.

According to Rinne the sheer volume of work means that police leave a lot of property crimes and minor assaults un-investigated.

He claims this could make a life of crime more attractive to potential miscreants, as the risk of getting caught gets ever smaller.

At present there are 7,300 police officers in Finland, and the government aims to raise that number to 7,500 by 2022.

A better target, according to Rinne, would be to ensure Finland had 8,500 officers.

Nokia struggles for recovery

Nokia’s future is dear to many Finnish hearts, so people paid attention this week when Bloomberg reported that the company is looking at the possibility of selling off parts of the firm or even merging with rivals, in an effort to revive its fortunes.

Nokia has struggled to recover trust from investors after dropping a bombshell last October when it slashed profit forecasts for 2019 and 2020.

The company is squeezed between two big rivals — Ericsson and Huawei — and struggles to compete profitably.

One Kauppalehti column takes a dim view of the company’s prospects, suggesting that outgoing chairman Risto Siilasmaa is leaving with the share price at a low point and trust with investors at zero.

That means the company needs to recover trust, and the KL column’s view is that selling off parts of it or even merging with rivals can only help that process.

The firm’s biggest problem, according to the column, is that it wants to be a full-service provider in an age when many countries — spooked by Chinese-owned Huawei’s dominance in 5G — want to ensure their networks are not dependent a one single company.

Corona latest

Helsingin Sanomat takes a look at a key question for many commuters in these infectious times: can you catch novel coronavirus on the metro?

The answer, according to Finnish health authorities, is that it depends how long the journey is.

A typical 10-minute metro ride does not meet the criteria for ‘close contact’, which stipulate that 15 minutes in a room with an infected person is the threshold for elevated risk of contracting the disease.

Those guidelines are based on advice from the World Health Organisation.

So somebody who shared a metro carriage with a coronavirus patient would not count as an individual at risk of infection.

On a plane, sitting within two rows of an infected person is regarded as a close contact, unless the patient moved around the plane coughing and sneezing — in which case people seated further away, and the cabin crew could be classified as close contacts.

Pekka Nuortti of Tampere University is at pains to explain that this does not mean people exposed for shorter periods have no risk of infection, or that those exposed for 15 minutes or more are definitely going to be infected.

Nuortti says it’s a calculation of probabilities more than a cast-iron rule.

Turku paper Turun Sanomat, meanwhile, looks at how the city’s Meyer shipyard is dealing with the threat from novel coronavirus.

The firm is currently building a cruise ship, Costa Toscana, for the Italian firm Costa Cruises. As a precaution, Meyer has banned its employees from travelling to at-risk areas, and said that anyone who has travelled to such locations in the last 14 days cannot enter the shipyard.

Yle News, Ilta-Sanomat, Turun Sanomat, Bloomberg, Reuters, Kauppalehti, Helsingin Sanomat

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