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

Latest virus figures from THL
"The coronavirus epidemic has highlighted the importance of domestic production” says Tuula Haatainen, Minister of Labour. Kuva: Mauri Ratilainen
"The coronavirus epidemic has highlighted the importance of domestic production” says Tuula Haatainen, Minister of Labour. Photo: Mauri Ratilainen

Latest virus figures from THL

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare says there have now been 6,692 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Finland, an increase of 64 from the previous day.

There have also been 313 coronavirus-related deaths, an increase of one from the day before.

Around the country there are currently a total of 87 people in hospital receiving treatment for their Covid-19 symptoms with 11 of them in intensive care.

The number of patients in hospital and in ICU is declining or leveling off in all hospital districts.

Finland begins first domestic face mask production

Three Finnish companies have started large-scale manufacturing of protective face masks this week.

Ministers announced on Wednesday that Filterpak, Lifa Air and Teho Filter are the first companies to begin production and that other companies will start their operations in the coming weeks.

“The coronavirus epidemic has highlighted the importance of domestic production” says Tuula Haatainen (SDP) Minister of Labour.

Haatainen says that around 450,000 surgical face masks, which cover mouth and nose, are needed each day in Finnish hospitals – with the same number being needed for other social and healthcare workers: up to a million pieces in total.

In addition up to 66,000 higher grade face masks and 150,000 pieces of protective clothing used by staff treating coronavirus patients are needed every day.

Unemployment doubles during coronavirus crisis

The number of people out of work and looking for employment almost doubled in April compared with the year before, as the coronavirus crisis deepened.

The latest statistics, released on Wednesday, paint a stark picture of the impact on society and the economy of the pandemic with rises in total unemployment, long-term unemployment and unemployed people over 50-years old, coupled with a decrease in the number of new job vacancies.

New figures from the Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs shows that this April there were 433,100 unemployed jobseekers registered at Employment and Economic Development Offices at the end of April – an increase of 203,400 year-on-year.

The number of long-term unemployed people, who have been out of work without interruption for more than a year, was up 4,300 from last April to 67,400 this year; while the number of unemployed jobseekers aged over 50 was up 53,900 compared with the year before to 141,500.

Repatriation flights end, with thousands brought home

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is bringing repatriation flights to an end, after returning 3,227 tourists back to Finland or their home countries in Europe during the coronavirus crisis.

Flights began at the end of March in coordination with other EU countries, and included planes from Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Thailand, Cuba, USA and India.

Anyone living in Finland who want to return home could book and pay for a seat on the specially organised Finnair flights, with the Government agreeing to cover the total cost of the flights if not enough tickets were sold.

“The aim of the flights was to enable a reasonable return journey from destinations from which there was no real possibility to return due to the disruption of commercial flight connections” explains Antti Putkonen, the Head of Unit responsible for arranging the repatriation flights at the ministry.

The total cost to the State of the flights was €354,838 and the ministry has applied for money from the EU to cover some of those costs.

Scandic Hotels extends staff furloughs

The Scandic Hotel chain has announced it plans to continue furloughing staff for another period of up to 90 days.

During April and May around 92% of their employees working in hotels and support functions were laid off, initially until the end of June. However the company is introducing a new 90-day furlough for workers at its 65 hotels in Finland – of which just 14 are currently open.

“In the restaurant business, under-size, unequal and discriminatory compensation from April to May, insufficient employment support and general support only now being possibly planned for small and medium sized companies will significantly slow down the resumption of our operations and the recruitment of furloughed staff” says CEO Aki Käyhkö.

Staycation summer? Borrow a barbecue from the library

Finns are being encouraged to take their holidays at home this year – a staycation summer as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic – and a new service from libraries means you can read a book as you barbecue.

Seventeen libraries around the country are taking part in the new service that allows library users to borrow a grill along with their favourite works of literature.

“We were very happy when we had the opportunity to take a picnic grill in our loan selection. What could be a more comfortable way to spend a summer day than enjoying good reading and barbecue delicacies?” says Erna Marttila, Director of Kallio Library in Helsinki.

The grills are donated by Finnish food company Atria and come in a carrying case with some instructions and a wire brush to clean the grill afterwards.

The project begins in June and will initially involve 17 libraries in Helsinki, Joensuu, Kirkkonummi, Kerava, Keuruu, Nurmo, Peräseinäjoki and Ylistaro but could expand to other locations if there’s enough demand.

Kuva: NewsNowFinland

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.