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Tuesday's papers: More medical students, coronavirus warnings and mail-order alcohol

Schools have seen hundreds of students exposed to coronavirus. 

Tyhjä koululuokka korona pandemian aikana.
Could schools empty out again this autumn? Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Finland's schools have been running for a couple of weeks now after the summer, and hundreds of students have been exposed to coronavirus infection.

Iltalehti asks THL Director of Health Security Mika Salminen on Tuesday whether we are heading back to large-scale remote learning, if that situation continues.

Salminen says no, for now, as even though there are a lot of people in quarantine, that has not yet led to a big spike in infections.

He also argues that the hundreds of quarantine orders are evidence that Finland's system is working, and chains of infection are being broken to stop the disease in its tracks.

Meanwhile Ilta-Sanomat runs a story featuring Eeva Ruotsalainen from the Helsinki University hospital district, where she warns that the situation has changed dramatically after the summer.

In the Uusimaa region there have been some 120-130 new cases per week, and tracers have warned between 1,250 and 1,600 people that they were exposed to coronavirus.

"People's movement and gatherings have since mid-August returned to levels seen before the pandemic," said Ruotsalainen. "That equation does not work in a situation where we still live in an expanding global pandemic. We have an opportunity and we can prevent a second wave in Finland and [reduce] its strength."

Medical student expansion

Helsingin Sanomat has good news for aspiring doctors, as the government has decided to increase the number of spots in medical schools.

Ministers had faced criticism earlier in the year when they announced some 5,000 more places in higher education in each of the next two years, but none of them were in medical schools despite a chronic shortage of medics.

The decision means some 44 new places will be created for doctors, and six new dental student places will open up.

They'll be spread across institutions in Helsinki, Kuopio, Tampere, Jyväskylä and Oulu.

Wined, sealed, delivered?

Countryside daily Maaseudun Tulevaisuus covers a story dear to the hearts of many Finnish drinkers: mail-order alcohol sales.

Finnish MEP Petri Sarvamaa (NCP) had asked the EU Commission whether Finland's ban on mail-order alcohol services was legal.

On Monday he revealed the answer: no, not quite, and the commission will be launching a dialogue with Finland on the issue.

If the commission is not satisfied with the explanation, Sarvamaa says it could launch legal action against Finland to get the ban overturned.

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