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Tuesday's papers: Life on lockdown, CEO pay cut, and hope for a new coronavirus test

The press on Tuesday looks at how people are managing daily life as Finland asks residents to stay at home.

Tyhjä luokkahuone Ilmaristen yhtenäiskoulussa Liedossa.
Classrooms are empty in Finland. Image: Kalle Mäkelä / Yle

After the government announced an extension to the emergency measures put in place to fight coronavirus on Monday evening, Helsingin Sanomat leads with articles focused on managing the day-to-day disruption surrounding the pandemic.

One story looks at how people are helping their children learn remotely as schools switch to distance learning for most pupils.

Readers’ pictures show how the change has happened for many Finnish families, with children learning at home and for the most part really enjoying the experience despite missing their friends.

Another HS story offers a look at the practicalities of online grocery shopping during the pandemic, as more and more people turn to delivery services offered by major retailers.

That demand has caused a shortage of delivery slots for customers, with some shops only able to deliver in several weeks’ time.

The bottleneck is in the collection stage, where there is a staff shortage. HS reports that the situation is not helped by rules on sick leaves, where staff are told to stay away from work if they have even a slight sniffle, so as to avoid spreading infections.

There are ways around the problem. Older people can call S-Group directly in the Helsinki region and book a collection and delivery service, while Kesko suggests people switch from their largest Citymarket outlets to smaller K-Market or K-Supermarket stores, as they often have more free slots.

Lastly, HS reports that the ‘stay at home’ measures have had a positive effect on air quality in the capital, with nitrogen oxide levels falling some 40 percent in Helsinki since 18 March when people were urged not to go to work.

CEO pay cut

Many Finnish firms are struggling at the moment, and that has prompted an upsurge in lay-offs and furloughs.

Iltalehti reports that Mapon, a GPS services company headquartered in Finland, has bucked that trend.

The company had announced co-determination talks to discuss lay-offs, because of the global downturn, but avoided them in part because the CEO Jani Asunmaa agreed not to take a salary for three months.

That saved the firm some 60,000 euros, and combined with other measures it was able to avoid laying off any of its 450 staff worldwide.

Possible Covid test

MTV Uutiset is reporting that Turku firm Abacus Diagnostics thinks it has a coronavirus test that can give results within the hour.

The company has devices in multiple Finnish hospitals, and therefore could roll out the test quickly. Each device could give results from 70 samples each day, substantially increasing Finnish capacity to test for the virus.

The firm has applied to Finland’s pharmaceutical regulator for special dispensation to offer the test to hospitals, and is waiting to hear back.

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