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Wednesday's papers: Cross-border corona, car-free zones and 'typical' summer weather

Papers explore corona worries on the Swedish border, societal mayhem fears and Helsinki's decision to give way to pedestrians

Kuvassa lapset uivat rannalla Järvenpäässä.
Finland is enjoying a mini heatwave this week but temperatures may cool at the start of July, according to meteorologists. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Finnish healthcare workers in the Tornio River Valley are worried about coronavirus spreading across the border from Sweden, writes daily Helsingin Sanomat, following a Midsummer outbreak in the Swedish municipality of Gällivare, which has so far reported 300 cases.

Kari Askonen, chief physician at Ylitornio’s health centre, told HS that commuters may spread the virus across the Finnish border. As of 11 June, Swedes with partners or vacation homes in Finland have been able to enter the country, despite restrictions on cross-border movement.

Ylitornio in Finland had no active cases before Midsummer, but now the municipality has one new confirmed case.

"We’re trying to figure out where it came from," Askonen said.

Former PM "wrongly" feared coronavirus lawlessness

Former Prime Minister and European Commissioner and current head of state innovation fund Sitra Jyrki Katainen told Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet he had feared coronavirus would plunge Finland into anarchy.

"Discussions on social media had become so raw and violent. I imagined that the state of emergency combined with suffering caused by the epidemic could lead to people taking matters into their own hands. I was worried people would no longer respect the authorities or the rule of law. Luckily I was wrong," he said.

No cars welcome

Some Helsinki residents have been applauding the city's decision to ban cars from the picturesque Kaivopuisto shoreline on the capital’s southern tip (Ehrenströmintie). The area will remain a car-free zone through 31 August, with cyclists and pedestrians now having the road at their disposal, according to HBL.

The city said the move aims to give walkers, joggers and bikers the opportunity to practice social distancing in an area which tends to draw vehicles to the glistening shoreline.

The heat is on

This week Finland is experiencing median temperatures six to nine degrees above average, according to the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast). However this may all change next week with a return to 'more typical weather', writes newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat.

Many parts of the country are expected to have experienced 30-degree weather by the weekend.

"July holidays will be spent in typical Finnish summer weather--that is--a mix of warm and cool days. The sun will still be out but there’s a chance of showers too," explained Foreca meteorologist Joanna Rinne.

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