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Tuesday's papers: Can Finland avoid Europe's Covid spike?

Domestic media probe whether Finland can fend off the second wave of infection sweeping the continent.

Maski kasvoillaan kulkevia ihmisiä Helsingin keskustassa.
Masks have become a common sight in downtown Helsinki, pictured here on 14 October. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Public health institute THL director Mika Salminen told Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday that it 'wasn't a certainty' that Finland would follow the rest of the continent which is struggling to stem a rapid resurgence of Covid.

"We’re in a different situation than the rest of Europe, and the epidemic won’t just jump over here as travel is minimal," he told the paper, but added that "things can of course change."

While Finland’s Covid incidence rate is 54.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, it’s 308.7 in Germany, 776 in Italy and 524.8 in Sweden, according to HS.

With the pre-Christmas party season approaching, Salminen emphasised personal responsibility to keep the virus at bay--including hand washing and wearing masks, but also deferring public gatherings.

"Although it’s boring everyone should think twice about organising any party or event," he said.

Aerosol threat

Coronavirus also tops Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet on Tuesday, with an aerosol scientist arguing that Finland should focus more efforts on battling airborne transmission of the virus.

Helsinki University aerosol physicist Mikael Ehn told HBL that he believed tiny airborne droplets and particles have been behind large-scale Covid outbreaks.

He called on officials to update recommendations to include proper ventilation.

Under pressure

Finland's service sector is meanwhile struggling to cope, reports business daily Kauppalehti.

One-fifth of service sector employers in Finland said they risk bankruptcy in the next three months, up from 11 percent in August, according to a new survey by Palta, an employer group representing service sector businesses.

"Last week’s vaccination news doesn't seem to have affected firms’ end-of-year outlooks. Depending on the availability of the vaccine, the crisis will still continue in companies for months," Palta’s economist Lauri Vuori said.

Around one-third of respondents said they believed business wouldn’t be back to normal before the end of next year at the earliest.

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