Morning headlines: Friday 13th March 2020

News Now Finland morning news headlines and weather first, every weekday at 09:00.

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End of Winter War commemorated

Church bells across the country will ring from 10:55 to 11:00 on Friday morning, marking the exact moment 80 years ago when the Winter War against Russia came to an end. All Lutheran, Orthodox and Catholic churches are taking part in the commemoration and flags are flow all day Friday as well. While the bells ring, 105 candles will be lit on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral, one for each day of the Winter War which began on 30th November 1939 and ended with the peace treaty between Finland and the Soviet Union which came into force on 13th March 1940 at 11:00. More than 27,000 Finns lost their lives in the short but brutal conflict. A national commemoration involving veterans, the President, the Government and members of the public at Helsinki Cathedral and Senate Square was canceled on Thursday due to the spread of coronavirus.

No decision to implement new emergency law

The Prime Minister convened a meeting of all parliamentary parties on Thursday night to discuss the response to coronavirus – and there was unanimous agreement that there’s no need to introduce the Emergency Act at this time, until it is deemed the current laws are not sufficient to handle the fast-developing situation. Before the meeting the Finns Party Parliamentary Group said it would call for the emergency law to be enforced to shut down schools and kindergartens. The Prime Minister says it’s not possible to stop the epidemic, and it’s not worthwhile taking too drastic measures if experts say they don’t bring results.

Defence Forces make changes to fight coronavirus spread

The Finnish Defence Forces are making operational changes to try and stop the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic. They’re staggering holiday and working periods, and canceling refresher courses. The changes come into place today and last until further notice. From now, weekends for conscripts will start on Saturday instead of Friday. At the same time they military will move to a system where one third of employees are on holiday for a week at a time, followed by two weeks working in the garrison. The purpose of the new rotation system is to ensure that not everyone gets sick at the same time.

New advice coming today on spread of pandemic

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is holding a press conference on Friday with more practical information for the public about how to act with the spread of coronavirus. Currently Finland is trying to slow down the onset of the epidemic, with healthy people advised to reduce their social contact, for example. Most of the 109 laboratory-confirmed cases in Finland have so far been mild although some of the infected patients have been treated in hospital. On Thursday the Government announced a set of new measures to try and slow the spread of coronavirus. Read more at our story here.

Friday morning weather

A cold front pushes into Lapland which sees temperatures drop from where they’ve been in recent days, down to -11°C in some parts of the region and snow in the forecast. There’s snow flurries too in the forecast stretching from Turku in the southwest through Tampere, Jyväskylä and up through central Finland to the northeast. The est of the sunshine this morning is in Kilpisjärvi in northwest Lapland, in Vaasa and for the capital region. As the day goes on expect some high winds moving in to many areas.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 13th March 2020 / Credit: FMI