Here's our evening round-up of the latest coronavirus news from Finland – Wednesday

Latest numbers and casualties
Finns are expected to head to summer cottages during the coming holiday period. This local, a ringed seal, is one of the few of its kind, sunbathing on the bank of Lake Saimaa. Kuva: WWF WWF
Finns are expected to head to summer cottages during the coming holiday period. This local, a ringed seal, is one of the few of its kind, sunbathing on the bank of Lake Saimaa. Kuva: WWF WWF

Latest coronavirus numbers and casualties

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare says there have now been 5,573 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Finland, up by 161 from the day before.

There have also now been 252 deaths in hospital and other locations such as elderly care homes, from people with coronavirus symptoms. That’s an increase of five from the previous day.

There are still 153 people around the country receiving treatment in hospital, all but 35 of those are in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District. There are currently 44 patients receiving intensive care treatment, a number that has been falling over the last few weeks.

Government unveils new restaurant support package

The government has unveiled a new package of financial aid for restaurants, cafes and bars which were forced to close down when nationwide restrictions were imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Ministers have earmarked €40 million for employment aid and another €83 million for financial compensation of lost earnings and running costs like rent.

“There are about 9,600 companies in the sector, and the combined turnover is more than four billion euros” says Minister of Labour Tuula Haatainen (SDP).

The maximum amount of compensation per company is half a million euros, and the amount is calculated on average monthly sales in January and February with each restaurant eligible to claim 15% of the lost income.

Tourism revenues forecast to slump to to 70%

The amount of money spent by domestic and foreign tourists in Finland is forecast to fall by as much as 70% during 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus on travel and the economy.

Last year tourists spent €16.1 billion, and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy reckons it will take until 2022 before the industry reaches those numbers again.

A new report estimates that if a recovery in the tourism sector begins in September, then total demand will shrink by about 60% this year – or around €9.8 billion. However if recovery does not start until December then total demand will shrink by about 70% or €10.9 billion.

“Of course we all know that hotels are pretty much all closed, today about 80% of all hotels are according to some estimations closed down, and those who have not closed down their occupancy rate is very small” says Katarina Wakonen from Visit Finland.

Demand for domestic tourism during this year is estimated to shrink by up to 60% or €5.1 billion.

Women’s football league is first to re-start

Finland’s National League – Kansallinen Liiga – the top flight of women’s football is the first major competition to announce a start date, after the beginning of the season was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Games for the ten participating teams will kick-off on Saturday 13th June and run through until early November. A two week training period begins at the start of June with special health and safety provisions in place to try and make sure there is no spread of coronavirus during the pre-season.

“If a team is diagnosed with a corona during the season, in principle the match of that team will be postponed to the calendar weekends left free for this purpose” says Heidi Pihlaja, Development Manager at the Finnish Football Association Palloliitto.

Spectators will be allowed to watch the games but only up to a limit of 500 people, and fans are likely to be told to stand two metres apart, although the Ministry for Culture and Sport has yet to release detailed guidelines about what measures clubs will have to take at fixtures for fans this summer.

Ferry services launch sea crossings from mid-May

Two of Finland’s biggest ferry operators Tallink-Silja and Viking Line say they’ll resume sea crossings from mid-May.

On that date the government says it will open up Schengen borders for work travel and other essential journeys, and in practice that means passengers can again travel on routes from Finland to Sweden and Estonia.

Viking Line says four of its seven ships will be back in service between Finland and Sweden, and Åland and Estonia.

“We are working in close collaboration with the authorities in charge to ensure that all forms of travel are carried out in a safe and secure manner” says Viking Line CEO Jan Hanses.

Meanwhile Tallink-Silja says their Megastar ferry will resume a normal schedule, while the Star will be added for an anticipated increased passenger volume at the weekends during May.

“It is clear that as the viral situation improves, we need to start relaunching the economy and working life. It is also important to gradually and in a controlled manner remove restrictions on movement in order to relaunch society, especially in the Baltic Sea region” says Paavo Nõgene, President and CEO of Tallink Group.

The full stories and more can be read here: www.newsnowfinland.fi

Daily news about the coronavirus crisis – koronauutiset englanniksi

Luotettavan tiedon tarve on kasvanut koronakriisin jatkuessa. Kaikkia maakuntamme asukkaita ei suomen- tai ruotsinkielinen media tavoita. Siksi julkaisemme koronakriisin aikana joka ilta englanninkielisen uutiskoosteen päivän tapahtumista. Uusi kooste ilmestyy luettavaksi maanantaista perjantaihin kello 19.30.

Englanninkielinen kooste koronauutisista kertoo nimenomaan päivän tiedoista ja tapahtumista Suomessa. Aineiston tuottaa Lännen Median lehtien käyttöön englanninkielinen uutispalvelu News Now Finland.

As the coronavirus crisis continues our readers have an increased need for reliable information. Not all residents of our region are reached by Finnish or Swedish-language media. That’s why we’ve started to publish an English-language news summary of the day’s coronavirus news. The new round-up will be available online Monday through Friday at 7:30pm.

The English-language compilation of coronavirus news has the latest information related to Finland. The material is produced for Lännen Media publications by the English-language news service News Now Finland.