New capital area coronavirus restrictions in place today
New restrictive measures to slow the spread of coronavirus are being introduced today in the capital city region. Joint action by Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen is being taken as officials say the virus situation “has worsened at an alarming rate.” From Monday all organised leisure activities held indoors will be canceled. All leisure activities outdoors, for people aged over 20, are also canceled. These restrictions remain in place until 20th December. In addition all public events inside or outside for more than 10 people are prohibited, until 18th December, and there’s a recommendation that close contacts be restricted to involve only people in the same household – with private meetings and family gatherings not recommended. All museums, cultural centres and Korkeasaari Zoo are closed – with libraries offering only a limited service; while upper secondary schools and vocational schools will switch to distance learning until the end of the year.
Warning over Covid-19’s impact on HIV testing
The coronavirus crisis could mean a reduction in sexually transmitted infection testing, and is impacting HIV prevention work. That’s the warning from several Finnish organisations who say the pandemic makes it more difficult for people with HIV to access services, and new diagnosis might not be verified this year. The Finnish Red Cross says one consequence of people not being able to access testing now is a growing need for HIV tests later, with a risk that pre-existing cases will remain unidentified for a longer period, delaying the start of treatment and increasing the risk of possible infection spreads. Organisations have been working to distribute hundreds of free home HIV testing kits and increased anonymous testing by appointment so that people have access to HIV tests despite coronavirus restrictions. Tuesday 1st December is World Aids Day.
Case of ‘fake death’ Iraqi asylum seeker postponed
The trial of an Iraqi asylum seeker and her ex-husband, accused of involvement in faking the death of the woman’s father in Iraq, has been postponed due to illness. The case was supposed to begin on Monday at Helsinki Distrcit Court. Prosecutors have charged the pair with aggravated fraud and forgery. The Iraqi man had his application for asylum in Finland turned down and returned to his home country in 2017 where he was apparently shot and killed. The case caused a scandal in Finland, with authorities accused of putting the man’s life at risk by denying his asylum request. The man’s daughter took Finland to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which found that Finland had violated the man’s human rights, and awarded the daughter a large financial settlement. However the National Bureau of Investigation believes the man is alive in Iraq, that his death certificate was faked, and the daughter and her ex-husband are facing trial for orchestrating the scam. The trial will now begin at a later date.
Bottas salutes medical crews after Bahrain GP crash
Finnish Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas has praised race officials and medical crews after a dramatic crash on the first lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday saw French driver Romain Grosjean have a miraculous escape from a crash into a barrier that split his vehicle in half, and engulfed it in a ball of flames. Writing on social media after the race, Bottas said “we are so thankful Romain is okay […] this is a moment to recognise the work of the FIA to always make our sport safer and to salute the unstinting bravery of the marshals and medical crew.” Grosjean was inside the burning car for around 30 seconds before he was able to climb out and suffered burns on his hands. Bottas finished the race in 8th place, almost 20 seconds behind the winner – his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
ICYMI: The top stories in the last week Across Our Region
Catch up on the biggest stories from the last seven days in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and Russia, in our round-up of the top headlines and some other news we think you might like. This week: Denmark’s culled mink are rising from the grave; Sweden’s coronavirus 2nd wave worsens; Lithuania gets a female-lead government; Iceland considers a new sugar tax; and coronavirus has left Tallinn’s roads and public transport empty. Read more news from Across Our Region here.
Monday morning weather
It’s a cloudy start to the week across the whole country with light snow forecast for central parts of Lapland and through Central Finland as well. Temperatures on Monday morning range from -3°C in northwest Lapland to -2°C in Oulu, -2°C in Jyväskylä, +1°C for Turku and the southwest, and Åland, and hovering around freezing for the capital city region where there’s a thin blanket of snow covering this morning, which quickly melts leaving roads in a slippery condition.