Morning headlines: Friday 20th March 2020

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


Government to unveil economic bailout package today

The Government is set to unveil a new budget package of economic help for people hit by the coronavirus epidemic. Ministers are expected to make the announcement at an 11:00 press conference. Other countries around Europe have already laid out the help they’ll be giving to individuals and businesses already suffering the economic fallout from the epidemic, including grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs, rates and tax relief, and help to cover salaries of people who are made temporarily redundant. In Finland, experts say there needs to be an historically large bailout package, with money being raised by taking on more debt rather than increasing taxes. You can follow the government’s bailout announcement live at 11:00 at this link.

Finland and Helsinki top the World Happiness Index 

Finland has been ranked as the world’s happiest country for the third year in a row. The annual World Happiness Report is produced by a number of leading universities and foundations, and takes an annual look at 156 countries and ranks them by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The survey takes into account different social aspects like having someone to count on, trust and equality, as well as environmental factors like pollution and climate. Joining Finland in the top five are Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. For the first time this year the study also ranked the world’s happiest cities with Helsinki coming out in the number one spot.

Virus-hit restaurant shows community spirit with food donation

A restaurant in Helsinki is trying to help more vulnerable members of the community, even as its own business is hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Lie Mi Vietnamese Kitchen in Kamppi has seen a big downturn in customer numbers as diners increasingly stay away from restaurants in the last couple of weeks. The restaurant’s owners decided to make up 500 food parcels with 12 different items inside including fruit, canned and dried goods, and soap to distribute through church volutneers to elderly people who might be stuck in their homes. “Feeding 500 people is not much, but it’s something” says Lie Mi manager Oona Kauhanen. Read more about the restaurant’s positive community spirit at our original story here.

Poll: Public trust highest in President, Prime Minister

A new poll from MTV News has asked members of the public about their trust levels when it comes to handling the coronavirus pandemic. More than 2,000 people responded to the survey between 14th March and 17th March, and they were asked to grade various politicians and organisations with marks out of 10. President Sauli Niinistö averaged 8.5 while Prime Minister Sanna Marin got a 7.3. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare was ranked at 7.4. A communications expert tells MTV News that the government has so far been successful about communicating and reassuring the public.

Friday marks spring equinox

Friday marks the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, with the length of daytime and nigh is roughly equal. As the spring progresses, the days get longer and the nights shorten in Finland reaching a peak at midsummer in June.

Friday morning weather

It’s a sunny and chilly start to Friday morning with plenty of clear skies and bright sunshine across virtually the whole country – except the furthest north points in Lapland where there’s snow in the forecast – and temperatures down at -17°C in some northern areas. Across the rest of Finland expect temperatures of -10°C in Oulu; -7°C in Jyväsyklyä; -2°C in Vaasa; -1°C in Lahti and just around freezing in Turku and the capital city region too.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 20th March 2020 / Credit: FMI