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Friday's papers: Storm clean-up, infection upswing in younger groups, more scope for travel

Morning papers report that the storm that swept across Finland this week was one of the worst on record.

Tuulen katkaisema oksa Kaivopuistossa Helsingissä 17. syyskuuta 2020.
Wind damage from Thursday's storm in Helsinki's Kaivopuisto park. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat writes that the bad weather Finland saw on Wednesday night and Thursday has moved east, leaving behind a scattering of showers and some gusty, but falling winds.

Dubbed “Aila”, the storm was the worst of the year, felling trees, damaging buildings and cutting off electrical power to as many as 80,000 households. In the early morning hours of Friday, reports Ilta-Sanomat, there were still about 25,000 customers of power companies experiencing outages in 120 different communities.

Tuomo Bergman, a meteorologist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, told the Finnish news agency STT that this storm was the third worst on record in terms of the number of calls for help received by emergency and rescue services.

According to Bergman, the high level of wind damage was due to the fact that strong gusts hit such a large area and the storm lasted for so long that it had time to cause a lot of small-scale damage.

Infection age dropping

Iltalehti looks at fresh statistics from the Finnish Institute of Heath and Welfare THL showing that the highest incidence of coronavirus infections is now among teenagers and young adults, while the number of coronavirus infections among older at-risk groups has decreased sharply.

The proportion of young people infected with the virus began to increase in August. A total of 744 infections were diagnosed during August, most of them among young adults and those under 60 years of age. Among children under the age of four, the number of infections doubled from 13 in July to 26 in August. There was also a large increase in infections among school-age and secondary school students compared to July.

During the spring, the number of cases was by far the highest among those over 75 years of age, with a total of 442 recorded in that age group in April.

Will Finns start traveling again?

Travel restrictions imposed by the Finnish government are being eased as of Saturday, and the nation's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat, writes that it is not impossible that many Finns will rush to travel abroad.

As the paper notes, due to the coronavirus epidemic most international trips planned for this year were canceled, and international tourism virtually came to a halt.

After months of restrictions, and with the beginning of the darkest time of the year, a trip abroad may sound like a refreshing change, Helsingin Sanomat writes.

However, Soile Veijola, Professor of Cultural Studies of Tourism at the University of Lapland, told Helsingin Sanomat that it is difficult to predict whether or not the Finns will make a sudden rush abroad travel restrictions are now easing..

“It wouldn't be a miracle if travel were to take off, as this has been a really stressful year for almost everyone. It will be exciting to see what happens," says Veijola.

But, Veijola also points out that because of the coronavirus epidemic, the ethical debate about travel has become even more serious.

She says that the future of foreign tourism is now at a critical juncture and whether travel returns to the same as before the epidemic largely depends on the nature of public debate about travel in general.

Returning tribal remains

Finland's main Swedish-language daily, Hufvudstadsbladet, reports about the return of ancestral remains and artifacts to Pueblo Tribes in the United States by the National Museum of Finland on Thursday.

The remains of 28 people and grave goods were returned to representatives of the indigenous people in the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado for re-internment.

Dated to the 13th century, the remains have been in the National Museum's collections for over a hundred years. The objects were collected in the 1890s by the Swedish geologist Gustaf Nordenskiöld, son of the Finnish explorer Adolf Nordenskiöld and Anna Mannerheim, aunt of Gustaf Mannerheim.

The process of repatriation took four years and was one of the issues discussed in October last year when President Sauli Niinistö met US President Donald Trump.

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