Coronavirus round-up: Friday 17th April 2020

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

Coronavirus graphic / Credit: iStock

Here’s our evening round-up of the latest coronavirus news from Finland:

  • Latest data on patients and casualties
  • ‘Finland Forward’ mental health initiative
  • More funding for vaccine research
  • New allowances for entrepreneurs hit by Covid-19

Latest data on patients and casualties

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare says there have been 3,489 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Finland – an increase of 120 on the day before.

There have also now been 82 coronavirus-related deaths reported, which is an increase of seven from the previous day.

More detailed information is available for most of the patients who died, and reveals that 72% of them are men, and the average age is 81-years old.

THL says that most cases of coronavirus in Finland have been mild so far, however around the country 208 people are currently in hospital receiving treatment, with 73 of them in intensive care.

New ‘Finland Forward’ mental health initiative launched

President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) appeared together – but separately – at a Friday afternoon press conference.

The pair announced a new initiative called ‘Finland Forward’ which aims to support the mental wellbeing of the nation during the coronavirus epidemic.

Niinistö joined the event via video link to launch the campaign where he said “this devil is defeatable. We will defeat it.”

The project will highlight good deeds, positive stories and acts of kindness across the country during the coronavirus outbreak, through virtual events and online updates.

“We are grateful to witness how so many people, organizations and companies have wanted to help and support others” says the Prime Minister. Read more.

More funding for vaccine research

Finland is joining two international organisations working to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and contributing €5 million in total funding to help the work.

The money is going to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations CEPI, and the International Vaccine Institute IVI. Currently, there is no vaccine or pharmacotherapy to the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In practice, the development of a vaccine is the only way to stop the spread of the virus and dozens of teams worldwide are working on possible solutions.

After a vaccine is developed, it will have to be produced and distributed on a vast scale, a challenge when the virus situation varies between different countries.

“Finland considers it importnat that the availability of safe, high-quality and affordable vaccines be safeguarded in all countries” the Ministry of Health says in a statement.

New allowances for entrepreneurs hit by Covid-19

The Ministry of Employment & Economy has announced a new coronavirus-related benefit for entrepreneurs.

The allowance can be paid to anyone already receiving a startup grant, on days when they cannot work due to the virus.

It’s effectively an unemployment benefit, which the entrepreneurs might not otherwise qualify for, and the ministry says the new money will allow startup owners to secure their livelihood in exceptional circumstances which could not have been foreseen when they started their business. Read more.