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Wednesday's papers: Finland braces for coronavirus, AI-proof jobs and park litter

Finland prepares for coronavirus, jobs safe from automation and mounting waste in public spaces.

nainen aivastaa nenäliinaan
Common signs of novel coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the WHO. Image: AOP

With the World Health Organization (WHO) convening an emergency meeting on novel coronavirus on Wednesday, Helsingin Sanomat explores the implications of an outbreak in Finland.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) told HS that it has a special diagnostic lab ready should suspected cases emerge in Finland.

China’s decision to share the genetic data of the virus has been central to developing tests for the new virus, according to the THL.

For now, Finland's health watchdog has not issued any special advice beyond standard recommendations for preventing infection spread, such as regular hand washing and covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.

On Wednesday the WHO's emergency committee convenes to determine whether the outbreak constitutes an international public health emergency, such as swine flu and Ebola.

Common signs of novel coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the WHO.

Jobs in a post-AI world

Worried AI will replace your job? Futurist and author Elina Hiltunen told Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet the dual pressures of climate change and an ageing population will soon create a strong demand for healthcare and rescue workers.

Over the next few decades, disposable consumer culture will gradually fade away, carving out a demand for many types of handiwork. In the near future, people will care more about repairing everything from clothing to machines.

But while Finland is experiencing the mildest winter in 100 years, the ageing population will more directly impact Finland before climate the does, according to Hiltunen.

Japan's elderly population goes through more diapers than the country’s infants.

"This will also be the case in Finland if the population structure develops in the same way," Hiltunen told HBL.

More than an eyesore

Last year, the city of Helsinki had to clear 137 sites that had become illegal dumps--one of them Helsinki’s Central Park, a ten-kilometre-long forested space, starting near the city centre in Laakso and ending at the city’s northern border in Haltiala.

Helsingin Sanomat features a gallery of trash left behind in the green space. The amount of garbage, including old sheets, mattresses and clothes, indicates that people have been sleeping rough in the park for longer periods of time.

The city spends 78,000 euros annually clearing litter from public spaces. City officials told HS they have to be swift in clean-up efforts, as once an area is strewn with litter it attracts even more.

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