Coronavirus round-up: Tuesday 26th 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 and new heatmap from THL
  • Confusion & delays for restaurants ahead of Monday’s opening
  • Finns focus on the coronavirus economic recovery
  • Coronavirus epidemic means fewer summer jobs available
  • Turku offers brings drive-in entertainment for the summer

Latest virus numbers and new heatmap from THL 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL says there have now been 6,628 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Finland, an increase of 29 from the day before.

There have also been 312 coronavirus-related deaths in Finland, up 4 from the previous day.

The latest statistics come as THL releases its heatmap of self-reported coronavirus symptoms around the country. The website is produced by THL, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and several medical tech companies.

The map shows the number of people per 100,000 population who have reported their possible coronavirus symptoms to Omaolo.

“Symptoms reported by citizens themselves increase our understanding of the progress of the epidemic. Alerts based on symptom assessments can predict the future number of corona cases and the need for treatment” says Sanna Isosomppi from THL.

Confusion & delays for restaurants ahead of Monday’s opening

Finland’s restaurants, cafes and bars are supposed to open again for business from next Monday 1st June, but there’s so much confusion and delay around implementing new laws and providing clarity on funding that it might not be a realistic goal for many businesses.

Delayed legislation which imposes new restrictions on businesses likely means it won’t be profitable for some restaurants to open.

“Fifty percent capacity is not enough. You still have all the costs of running a business, but you only get 50% of your income. It will make it very difficult to open and many restaurants will have to think about whether it is better to stay closed” says Timo Lappi, CEO of the Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa.

The other issue is a continued lack of a system in place to pay compensation for lost revenues, something many businesses need in order to get up and running again. Read more here.

Finns focus on the coronavirus economic recovery

The majority of Finns say that although they accept there’s gloomy economic times ahead, they’re in agreement that there needs to be some exceptional measures taken to boost the economy – but those measures shouldn’t damage the economy in the long run.

Those are some of the key findings of a new survey from the Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA, which asked 2,060 people questions about coronavirus and the economy from 26th March to 3rd April.

The study paints a picture of the coronavirus crisis where 67% of Finns think that combating the economic crisis is as important as preventing the spread of the virus.

The majority of people in the survey, 56%, believe the coronavirus crisis will damage Finland’s economy for a long time with around two thirds of Finns Party voters, people in leadership positions, and those living in small municipalities being the most pessimistic.

People who support one of the five parties in the government coalition, people with university degrees, students and young people are less pessimistic about the long term impact of coronavirus on the economy. Read more here.

Coronavirus epidemic means fewer summer jobs available

The number of summer jobs available this year in Finland has dropped compared to the year before.

According to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK, the number of summer jobs has fallen across all sectors but especially in the private sector where the availability of summer jobs have fallen by 27%.

Traditionally, young people get summer jobs out of school or during university to cover positions where the main job holder takes extended summer vacations, or where there’s a seasonal need for more staff.

“It was foreseeable that fewer summer workers would be hired this summer, but this was a surprise drop. A large number of young people now miss their first contact with working life and gain valuable work experience” says Kirsi Rasinaho SAK’s education and employment policy expert.

SAK says that young people should still be active if they want to find a summer job because some companies like restaurants, cafes and amusement parks are only now firming up their summer hiring plans ahead of June openings. Read more here.

Turku offers drive-in entertainment for the summer

The Turku Exhibition Centre has come up with an imaginative summer programme to bring audiences together for concerts, cinema, comedy and karaoke – but still comply with social distancing regulations.

The venue is converting part of its grounds into a drive-in entertainment space where audiences will stay in their cars while watching, listening or even taking part in the shows.

“The coronavirus has hit the events sector particularly hard, and we are all looking for ways to cope with this catastrophic phase in different cities” says Turku Fair and Congress Oy’s Managing Director Marja Pekkanen.

A mobile stage with giant screens will be brought to the fairground and a limited number of cars will be able to drive in – at a cost of up to €35 – allowing up to 500 people to safely keep their distance from each other but still see the show.

The programme launches next week with stand-up comedy, and then later shows will feature a karaoke-inspired performance; a cello ensemble; and improv theatre.

During July the space will be converted into a drive-in cinema with a range of films showing for a few days at a time, before the selection changes.