Morning headlines: Monday 11th January 2021

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

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Exceptionally heavy snowfall on the way from Monday night

Meteorologists are warning of “exceptional” levels of snowfall with up to 30-40cm of accumulated snow forecast in south and southwest Finland from Monday evening through to Wednesday. The largest accumulations are expected south of a Rauma-Lahti line, with warnings of dangerous driving conditions, and a further 10cm of snow expected on Wednesday in the south. “Snow is falling with strong winds, and weather conditions are hampered not only by snowfall but also by visibility reduced by heavy snowfall and dusty snow” says meteorologist Antti Kokko. Meteorologists use the word exceptional only when a phenomenon occurs statistically on average 2-3 times in a hundred years or less, according to FMI.

HUS Director: Coronavirus variant will spread in spring

The Director of Diagnostics at Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District is warning that a new, more contagious, coronavirus variant, will spread in Finland during the spring. Writing online, Lasse Lehtonen says that at the same time, public health authorities are working to get more people vaccinated before new variants of Covid-19 start to take hold. Over Christmas dozens of countries, including Finland, further restricted travel from the UK and Lehtonen notes the virus still spread despite this. “Despite the traffic restrictions, the B117 virus variant has been detected in several European countries. In Denmark, the prevalence of the virus variant has been actively monitored and there the prevalence of the virus variant has roughly doubled weekly since the first detection” he notes, adding that this new strain had already been discovered in tourists arriving in Finland immediately after Christmas.

Save the Children received nearly 3,000 tips about online sexual abuse

New figures released on Monday show that Save the Children in Finland received almost 3,000 tips alleging incidents of online sexual abuse. The charity runs the nettivihje.fi service which lets anyone report online material they suspect is related to child abuse or sexual exploitation on the internet. Last April Save the Children warned that the exceptional measures put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus, including distance learning for pupils, could put young people at even greater risk of being groomed online. The charity is concerned that there are still cases of possible grooming or exploitation going unreported in Finland.

Parliament committees looking at Infectious Diseases act changes

Several committees in parliament are studying proposals at the start of the week for changes to the Infectious Diseases Act which would allow the government to restrict business and leisure activities more easily during the coronavirus pandemic. It would mean that authorities could put in place region restrictions on gyms, public saunas, swimming pools, hobby sports facilities and amusement parks; or mandate ways in which supermarkets should organise themselves to avoid crowds of people inside. At present, municipalities can only close their own facilities, like city-owned sports and leisure facilities, under the provisions of this act.

Finns getting ‘pandemic pups’ during coronavirus crisis

Finland is becoming even more of a nation of dog-lovers during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Kennel Club Finns registered around 49,000 new dogs last year which is up 8.4% compared with the year before. According to the latest information the country’s most popular dog breeds in 2019 were Labradors, followed by Elkhounds and German Shepherds. Other popular pooches have included Golden Retrievers, Jack Russels, Shetland Sheepdogs and the Finnish Lapphound which was traditionally used to herd reindeer. The Kennel Club will announce 2020’s most popular dogs at the end of January.

Monday morning weather

Ahead of tonight’s snow storm across the south of the country, it’s a chilly start to Monday in many places. In Lapland expect snow and temperatures between -9°C and -15°C. Down the eastern border Monday morning’s temperatures start as low as -21°C and through central areas there’s snow as well. In the southern and southwest coastal areas expect 5-15cm of snow already during the day on Monday.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 11th January 2020 / Credit: FMI