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Tuesday's papers: Tampere tram triumph, contact tracing woes, and hotel-office combo rooms on sale

Contact tracing is getting difficult in Helsinki.

Ratikkatyömaa Hämeensillan kohdalla.
Tampere's tram network is on a path to completion. Image: Miikka Varila / Yle

Tampere paper Aamulehti leads with the news that the city council voted on Monday night to approve the second phase of the city's new tram system.

Previous council debates on the tram project have been rambunctious affairs, with one 2016 meeting subject to arguments that the tram would increase suicide, vandalism of Audi cars, and cause the bankruptcy of a petrol station.

That meeting was chaired by current Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), who also participated in Monday's session via a remote link. It's common in Finland for politicians to hold several elected positions at once.

Council chair Anna-Kaisa Ikonen (NCP) predicted a long evening, but pleaded with councillors to keep their speeches short.

In the end tram opponents could not match their previous histrionics, with the proposal to extend the network approved by 56 votes to 11.

The goal is to complete the new section leading to the western suburb of Lentäväniemi by 2024, with further extensions to Härmälä and Koilliskeskus planned by 2027.

Contact tracing problems in Helsinki

Helsingin Sanomat focuses on the coronavirus epidemic. The government has classified regions as in either the base, acceleration or spreading stage of the epidemic, and currently the Uusimaa region is in the acceleration stage.

The paper's cover story looks at contact tracing. HS interviews Pekka Nuorti, the Tampere University professor who has established a contact-tracing training programme in Finland.

In most of Finland, contact tracing has worked well in suppressing the disease. However in Uusimaa, the weekly proportion of cases that could not be traced back to another patient ran from 63 percent of infections to 80 percent.

Nuorti says it's important to avoid situations where lots of people who do not know each other gather.

Meanwhile HS also asks why the Helsinki region has not been classified as entering the 'spreading' phase, when one criterion for that is that case numbers exceed 25 per 100,000 inhabitants in a two-week period.

In weeks 40 and 41, that number hit 76.3 in Helsinki and the surrounding areas. But HUS says that other criteria, including load on the healthcare services, have not been met. So it will stay in the 'acceleration stage' for now.

Buy your own hotel room

Ilta-Sanomat carries a story about a new hotel in Helsinki that allows customers to purchase a room for their personal use.

The rooms are intended to double as offices, with beds flipping up during the day to leave floor space for a desk.

A 12.5 square metre room costs at least 180,000 euros, and on top of that, owners pay a maintenance fee running to 150-170 euros a month.

The room is then rented out, under normal circumstances, by the hotel operator. If the owner wants to use it, they get to stay there 'at a pretty good discount', according to Andreas Lindqvist of operator SSA Hotels.

Lindqvist got the idea when commuting to work three days a week in Helsinki, figuring that he might as well find a way to let the office double as a bedroom rather than shelling out for a hotel on top.

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