Here’s our evening round-up of the latest coronavirus news from Finland:
- No new coronavirus deaths reported on Friday
- President criticises eurozone Covid-19 bailouts
- Crisis impacts Finland’s housing market
- More pupils and staff quarantined at Sipoo schools
- Finns get comforable and relax during lockdown
No new coronavirus deaths reported on Friday
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL says there were no new coronavirus-related deaths reported in Finland on Friday.
The total number of people who have died from coronavirus stands at 306, the majority of those deaths occurred in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District.
THL reports there have now been 6,537 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the first case was detected in a Chinese tourist visiting Lapland at the end of January – the new figure is an increase of 44 from the previous day.
Around the country there are currently 113 people in hospital receiving treatment for their symptoms, and 21 of those are in intensive care. The number of patients in hospital overall, as well as the number in ICU have been declining or leveling off in all five hospital regions. Read more here.
President criticises eurozone Covid-19 bailouts
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has used the launch of his Kultaranta summer discussion event to criticise the idea of bailing out eurozone countries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in Helsinki, Niinistö said that a return to the original principles of the eurozone, with no provision for bailouts, should now be up for discussion. He said that would mean each member state is responsible for its own debts, even as Niinistö acknowledged countries would have to spend their way out of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus crisis.
His remarks come just days after Germany and France proposed a €500 billion temporary recovery fund, backed by the EU budget and Member States’ contributions. But it puts Niinistö at odds with the Finnish Government which has broadly welcomed the proposals put forward by the French and Germans.
Finland has in the past been against any coronavirus-bonds or euro-bonds, and they are strongly criticised by the opposition Finns Party, for example.
Crisis impacts Finland’s housing market
The coronavirus crisis is having a negative impact on Finland’s housing market.
Mortgage credit association Hypo says it could lead to a 2% fall in house prices across the country this year, but a strong start to 2020 will save the market from falling further, while mortgage repayment relief will protect against foreclosures.
Hypo predicts a rapid change in the situation on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Prices will start to rise sharply next year if the return to everyday life continues without big setbacks” says Juhana Brotherus, Hypo’s Chief Economist.
Meanwhile a survey of Finnish landlords in April revealed that those in Uusimaa found it more difficult than other parts of the country to find tenants – a time which coincided with a regional lockdown of Uusimaa’s borders.
However by May things had evened out and about 40% of respondents said it was difficult finding tenants for their properties, no matter where in the country it was located. Read more here.
More pupils and staff quarantined at Sipoo schools
Staff and students at three Sipoo schools in southern Finland have been hit with continued coronavirus problems a week after contact teaching resumed.
Pupils in primary schools and lower secondary schools went back to class last Thursday – albeit with new social distancing and hygiene rules in place.
There has now been a second confirmed cases of coronavirus at Sipoonjoen school, with 15 students and several teachers ordered into quarantine. It comes a few days after the first infection at the school put 20 students and teachers in quarantine.
A teacher and 13 students at Gumbostrands school in Sipoo have been placed in quarantine after a member of staff was confirmed with the virus.
And a students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade have switched back to remote lessons at Söderkulla school in Sipoo after too many teachers were put into quarantine after being in contact with someone who has the virus.
Finns get comforable and relax during lockdown
Finns are getting comfortable and relaxing at home during the coronavirus lockdown, spending more money on spa treatments and leisure wear clothing according to SOK’s department stores.
Although there was a significant drop in customers to the physical stores, e-commerce has been booming with shoppers stocking up on beauty masks and peels, with sales of pedicure products increasing by 40%.
“Especially the more valuable branded skin care products for women and men are being traded. However, demand for makeup and colour cosmetics has clearly declined. There is no make-up for the home office, and on the other hand people want to try color cosmetics before buying” explains Päivi Juntunen from SOK.
In addition to beauty products sales of more formal clothes for work has declined while sales of men’s t-shirts, hoodies and jeans have gone up.