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Tuesday's papers: Shutdown looms, Migri bureaucracy and smart ring Covid boon

Finnish newspapers on Tuesday mull the Helsinki region rolling out further coronavirus restrictions.

Helsingin jouluavausta 2020 vietettiin Senaatintorilla sunnuntaina aurinkoisessa säässä.
People gathered in Helsinki's Senate Square this past weekend to mark the start of the Christmas season. Image: Katriina Laine / Yle

Media outlets this morning speculate whether a new set of restrictions are in store on Tuesday just one day after the Helsinki metropolitan area rolled out measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru has called a meeting with Uusimaa municipal leaders on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of new restrictions in the region.

Helsingin Sanomat speculates that new measures could include closures of nearly all public facilities and a ban on public gatherings, including additional restrictions on children’s hobbies. The cabinet is meanwhile expected to announce a ban on late-night cafés on Tuesday.

Migri red tape

Finland should help foreign workers enter the country in no more than two weeks while digitising the entire immigration process, National Coalition Party parliamentary group chair and former Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen told business daily Kauppalehti.

In his letter to the paper, he highlights the difficulties Caterina Fake, a co-founder of picture sharing service Flickr, faced in moving to Finland this year. The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) turned down Fake’s application for a work permit because she didn’t have a Finnish employer. She was, however, able to get a temporary residence permit through her Finnish spouse.

Mykkänen said dealing with multiple levels of bureaucracy makes people feel unwanted--even though he claims attracting foreign experts was strategic to maintaining the Finnish welfare state.

The NCP politician also called for families moving to Finland to be able to integrate in English, which would entail the country providing more English-language early childhood and primary education.

Covid ring

The Finnish health-tracking Oura ring is attracting interest in the US, writes Helsingin Sanomat, after news emerged that NBA players were using the smart ring to monitor for symptoms of Covid. The smart ring can measure skin temperature and heart rate.

Demand for the wearable surged after some users reported the ring indicated the first signs of a coronavirus infection.

The company is now working with the University of California to test whether physiological data collected by the ring combined with responses to daily symptom surveys can predict illness symptoms.

Time Magazine has listed the wearable as one of the best inventions of the year.

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