Morning headlines: Friday 31st July 2020

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

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New, alternative, findings on face mask study

A group of Finnish researchers have concluded that there’s some significant benefits in combating coronavirus if people wear masks. The independent analysis looked at the same data as a previous study commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in May which concluded there was no strong evidence to support mandatory face masks orders. The new research findings criticise the previous study and say they came to the wrong conclusions based on methodology. “Our main result was that the masks clearly protect their users” says Hanna M. Ollila from the University of Helsinki who lead the new research. Finnish health care experts have been divided on the issue of wearing masks when there is a low instance of viral transmission but some say they could be useful is certain specific conditions.

Estonian Minister says state won’t support private Tallinn tunnel project

Estonia’s Minister of Administration Jaak Aab says his government will not support the privately-financed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel being proposed by a group fronted by Finnish businessman Peter Vesterbacka. In comments to an Estonian media outlet, Aab raised objections about unspecified security threats of the tunnel, “unclear” funding, and the business case for needing an underground train link in the first place. Aab says instead that a tunnel can only be built as a government-to-government project between Estonia and Finland although he doesn’t say how the business case for this tunnel would be different than for a privately-funded tunnel. There are currently no plans for a state-funded tunnel between the two Baltic capitals, with Vesterbacka’s privately-funded €15 billion link the only option available.

Summer cottage sales growing strongly during coronavirus epidemic

The number of summer cottages bought and sold in the first half of 2020 increased sharply compared with the year before, according to real estate agency Huoneistokeskus. The company says between January and June almost 2,000 cottage properties on their books changed hands, that’s up 40% from 2019 numbers. “For example, the number of cottage sales in Etelä-Savo increased by 55% in January-June from the previous year, in Pirkanmaa by 79% and in Päijät-Häme by 62%” says Anu-Elina Hintsa from Huoneistokeskus. “However, the largest increase in trade volumes was in North Karelia, where cottage sales grew by as much as 150%. Central Ostrobothnia also saw rapid growth: 73%” she adds.

Friday morning weather

The best of the sunshine for Friday morning is found in western and central parts of the country with temperatures ranging from +16° in Turku to a chilly +9°C in Kilpisjärvi. In the eastern part of the country there’s more cloud, less sunshine and temperatures there are +14°C at the start of the day. In Savo and Karelia expect some scattered showers this morning which move further to the east as the day goes on. The forecast for the weekend is warm and sunny summer weather.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 31st July 2020 / Credit: FMI