Coronavirus round-up: Monday 25th May 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 virus numbers from THL
  • Ministry wants to buy €100 million worth of protective equipment
  • Children in low-income families hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic
  • Finnair starts more layoff talks today
  • PM forced to release coronavirus papers
  • Opera star reveals her online life during lockdown

Latest virus numbers from THL 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL says there have now been 6,599 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 20 new cases from the day before.

There have also been 308 coronavirus-related deaths, which is an increase of one person from the day before.

The number of people currently receiving hospital treatment around the country is also falling in all areas. There are two fewer people in hospital and one less person in intensive care compared to Sunday.

More than 60% of patients who were admitted to intensive care had some kind of long-term illness.

Ministry wants to buy €100 million worth of protective equipment

The Ministry of Health has submitted a procurement proposal to buy €100 million worth of protective equipment for the National Emergency Supply Agency NESA, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The ministry announced the bid on Monday, and wants to buy not just from international sources but also from Finnish companies to help domestic production and guarantee availability of the equipment.

“The coronavirus epidemic will continue to slpw down, but we are prepared for the fact that the disease situation may change in the future, and the demand for protective equipment will increase from the current level” says Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left) Minister of Social Affairs and Health.

The €100 million would buy at least nine million surgical face masks to cover nose and mouth; at least 1.5 million higher-specification face masks; up to 150 million pairs of gloves; six million protective coats and aprons. Read more here.

Children in low-income families hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic

Many children from low-income families are facing fears about the coronavirus crisis, and are concerned about their family’s livelihood.

That’s according to a new survey from Save the Children. Overall more than 1-in-4 children said they felt their mental well-being during the crisis was poor, while this number rose to 40% in children from low income families.

In the survey children from low-income families were also more likely to report difficulties in attending school. Save the Children asked more than 3,000 children during April about the effects of the coronavirus epidemic on their everyday life and schooling. Read more here.

Finnair starts more layoff talks today

Finnair started a new round of layoff talks today, involving more than 6,000 staff.

Although the national carrier has announced a return to around 30% of its services from July – and plans to operate 70% of flights from the end of the year – there is not going to be enough work for all its staff at first.

The airline previously announced temporary layoffs and these will now be extended to include more staff.

“Considering the uncertainties caused by travel restrictions and the coronavirus situation in general, the return to normal will take a considerable time. That is why the temporary layoffs we now start negotiations on unfortunately seem to be inevitable” says Johanna Karppi, Finnair’s Senior Vice President for People & Culture.

Last week Finnair unveiled its summer schedule and set out the return to business strategy to get flights in the air after the worst of the coronavirus crisis. However a number of Finnish cities will not have any domestic flights this summer and have complained about being left out of Finnair’s route map. Read more here.

PM forced to release coronavirus papers

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has been forced to order the release of papers that show how an expert committee handled coronavirus deliberations, after being accused of unnecessarily keeping them secret.

The non-confidential papers were used by the government’s Coronavirus Coordination Group which was set up in February and headed by Marin’s State Secretary Mikko Koskinen – a former Social Democratic Party staffer – and his counterparts from ministries.

The Coordination Group has been discussing a wide range of issues around the pandemic and the government’s response to it, but argued that a 1999 law on government openness didn’t apply to them, when Finnish News Agency STT asked to see all the relevant documents.

Now the PM says that “in principle all background material and calculations on which coronavirus decision-making was based should be published in accordance with the principles of open science and research.” Read more here.

Opera star reveals her online life during lockdown 

Finnish opera star Karita Mattila has been spending her extended coronavirus stay in Finland, and using the time to connect with an online community of fans and admirers who enjoy the two-time Grammy Award winner’s light flirty banter, pictures of afternoon cocktails and posing at the piano, and emoji-laden insights into her life.

The soprano’s season was canceled when theatres and festivals closed during the coronavirus crisis but she’s looking forward to getting back on the road.

“Twitter is so bubbly and so welcome, and when I have some lonely moments it’s cheering me up, and I’m wholeheartedly enjoying it, especially these days when you can’t meet anyone. You always find somebody to have a conversation” she says.

Mattila is looking forward to being able to perform again, and should be on stage in Finland again later this year.

“There are so many people who have been following me from my early years and it’s very moving and very touching how they are so loyal, and it is such a beautiful relationship […] I want to come back as long as they want me” she says. Read more here.