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Wednesday's papers: Helsinki's corona bus, mystery virus variant, climate action

Helsinki residents will soon have access to a new rapid virus testing option free of charge, reports Huvfudstadsbladet.

Tornion koronatestaus
Signs advertise coronavirus testing in Tornio, Lapland. Image: Juuso Stoor / Yle

Helsinki residents will soon have greater access to rapid coronavirus testing, reports Swedish-language Huvfudstadsbladet (HBL).

Authorities at Helsinki and Uusimaa healthcare district HUS are due to roll out a so-called "Corona bus" that will act as a mobile testing station for city residents.

"The procurement is now complete and the bus will be ready for use in the next two weeks, perhaps even as soon as next week," HUS' Director of Diagnostic Services Lasse Lehtonen told HBL.

The idea of the bus is to push up testing numbers at locations like construction sites and among immigrant communities which have seen disproportionately high case numbers, HBL writes.

The bus will provide antigen tests free of charge. Any positive cases will be tested again with a more reliable PCR test to confirm the result.

"The bus will largely be driven to schools or workplaces where it is possible to test large groups. Alternatively, it could be driven to a place with lots of people, where passersby can go in and get tested," Lehtonen told the paper.

Kemijärvi variant still a mystery

Tabloid Iltalehti reports on a coronavirus variant detected in the Lapland municipality of Kemijärvi in late March.

Genetic sequence of the virus, found in samples taken from three people, showed that it was not one of the British, Brazilian or South African variants blamed for the recent upsurge in infections across Europe.

Iltalehti quotes Lapland Hospital District's Markku Broas, who says more information on the variant should be available this week.

"[Private lab] Vita Laboratories reported that the sequencing of the entire genome has gone to the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki and there have been certain delays. They said on Thursday that the results should come this week," Broas told the paper.

The infection cluster the variant came from now numbers nine cases, with the origin of the infection still unclear, Iltalehti writes.

Vanhanen chairs climate action meeting

Global finance ministers stated their commitment to fighting climate change at a virtual meeting on Tuesday, according to a story in Wednesday's Helsingin Sanomat.

Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen (Cen), who chaired the meeting, told the paper he believes that the world's financial elite now have a strong commitment to taking action on the environment.

"Every speech reflected a real awakening and commitment to action to combat and prevent climate change. That was the main message of the meeting," he said.

"The wheel is turning in the right direction," Vanhanen added.

The meeting of the group, dubbed the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, involved the finance ministers of over 60 countries, including first-time attendees Japan, South Korea and the United States, HS writes.

Finland and Indonesia co-chair the group, which commits its members to a set of ideas known as the Helsinki Principles.

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