Morning headlines: Friday 15th January 2020

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

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Cold snap continues across the country 

A cold front with some extremely chilly temperatures continues across most of central, southern and eastern Finland on Friday – coming after three days of heavy snow. Overnight from Thursday into Friday the coldest temperature was registered at Kuhmo in Kainuu with -35.6°C, while in North Karelia -34.1°C was measures in Juuka. During the day on Friday the coldest temperatures are forecast for South Savo and North Karelia. This week’s wintry weather has seen an increase of heart attack patients according to Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District. A dozen people were admitted for heart attacks which happened as they were working to clear snow. Two people died. Doctors say the patients are mostly older men and caution that if you’re not already in decent shape, don’t over-exert yourself suddenly by trying to clear away the accumulated snow.

Tallink offers free coronavirus tests for Helsinki passengers

Ferry company Tallink will offer free, voluntary Covid-19 tests on passengers arriving in Helsinki from Tallinn, as well as coronavirus health advice The actual testing is being carried out by the City of Helsinki’s Social and Health Service on the Star and Megastar vessels, and passengers will get their results via SMS text message within 1 to 3 days. The idea behind the new initiative is to slow the spread of new, more contagious strains of coronavirus in Finland. Recently the coronavirus situation in Estonia has deteriorated rapidly and there’s now 574 confirmed cases of covid per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks. The corresponding number in Finland was about 64 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Coronavirus cases, and patients in hospital, decreasing

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare reports the number of cases of coronavirus detected in Finland has decreased slightly, and there’s a declining number of patients who need to be treated in hospital. THL says a feared spike of cases after the Christmas holidays has not materialised. The R-number, the number of people one infected person can infect, has dropped below 1 and is currently estimated at 0.7 to 0.9. Most of the Covid-19 infections in Finland are now being detected in younger people and working-age adults, with the majority living in the same household. While most infections are domestic, some 11% of people who test positive in Finland were infected abroad.

Finnish footballers score at sports awards

The Finnish men’s national football team scored at Thursday night’s Urheilugaala sports awards. Huuhkajat, who qualified for their first major international tournament, saw their coach Markku Kanerva named coach of the year; goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was awarded the athlete of the year award; while the whole team received the team of the year award. Another noteable winner was recently-retired biathlon star Kaisa Mäkäräinen who got the Finnish sports ambassador award. That trophy had previously been given to footballer Sami Hyppi, F1 racer Kimi Räikkönen and ice hockey player Teemu Selänne, with Mäkäräinen saying she was “extremely honored to have the opportunity to join their ranks.”

250th anniversary of Finland’s first newspaper

Today marks the 250th anniversary of the publication of Finland’s first newspaper. On this day in 1771 readers were able to get their hands on the first copy of Tidningar Utgifne Af et Sällskap i Åbo – Magazine Published by the Turku Society – which had just eight pages. It was Finland’s first foray into newspapers but focused more on academic articles than actual news as we would know it today: in fact, when a large part of Turku was destroyed by fire in 1775 the local newspaper did not even mention the blaze. The first magazine ran for eight years and again after a break for for more years. All the issues are available on the National Library’s website.

Friday morning weather

The cold snap continues on Friday with the lowest temperatures across central, eastern and southern areas between -23°C to -30°C but it will feel colder than that in exposed or windy places. Across Lapland temperatures are more mild ranging from -8°C in Inari in the far north to -20°C around Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle. Over the weekend temperatures warm up significantly – with plenty of sunshine around for Saturday in particular – up to only -3°C in Jyväskylä on Sunday for example.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 15th January 2020 / Credit: FMI