Morning headlines: Thursday 9th April 2020

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

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Oulu footballers tackle coronavirus with community service 

Footballers in Finland, left with no games or training due to the coronavirus restrictions, are finding new ways to tackle the impact of the epidemic. Players and staff at AC Oulu haven’t yet faced mandatory salary cuts, but as a way to ensure the club’s wages bill is fully met each month, they’re taking on odd jobs and helping the community at the same time. “The idea is simple. We don’t want to take a holiday from playing, we want to keep paying salaries for all our staff and players” says Managing Director Juho Meriläinen. The team has been involved in coronavirus-related work as well, with star striker Juho Mäkelä – twice the top goal scorer in Finland’s Veikkausliiga – driving test samples from Kaajani and Kuusamo for analysis in Oulu; and delivering groceries to families in quarantine. “Our projects have two dimensions. We want to help the club, and we want to help the community in Oulu and Northern Finland” he says. Read more at our original story here.

EK: Make coronavirus tests free for all

The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK is urging the government to treat coronavirus like other common widespread illnesses like measles and salmonella and make testing free. EK says that a free test at a private healthcare clinic would be in the interests of equality as it allows people with symptoms to get a Covid-19 test without having occupational health coverage via an employer. “Extending testing to all symptomatic workers would be essential for society” says Auli Rytivaara a physician with EK.

Police investigate huge drugs case

Police in Finland and the Netherlands are investigating a huge drugs case involving motorcycle gangs in both countries. The story was first reported by MTV News who says that at the beginning of March police stopped a shipment of 86 kilos of methamphetamines which was coming from the Netherlands to Finland. Two people connected with the Hell’s Angels gang have been detained in custody in Finland; and 8 people have been detained in the Netherlands in connection with this case MTV reports. The National Bureau of Investigation in Finland is taking the lead on the case.

Uusimaa border controls to be lifted on 19th

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) says that border restrictions around Uusimaa region in southern Finland will be lifted next week on 19th April as originally planned. The checkpoints on many roads, manned by police and army conscripts, are putting a strain on police resources with officers working 14 and 16 hour shifts. Marin made the comments during a Wednesday evening television interview. The restrictions were put in place to try and limit the number of people moving in and out of Uusimaa and potentially spread coronavirus to other parts of the country. The lockdown seems to be having an effect as 41,500 vehicles crossed the border on Tuesday this week, less than the day before. And around 100 cars were turned around by police because they didn’t have a valid reason for travel. In train traffic, police checked 591 passengers on Tuesday, and 16 of them were turned back.

New gender-neutral ID cards from 2027

A working group looking at how to renew Finland’s identification cards has recommended that a new personal ID number should not reveal someone’s age, date of birth, gender or other information. The new system will be introduced from 2027 and replace the current system of ID numbers which include date of birth and gender, after a transition period. Finnish citizens and foreigners resident in the country would get a new ID number to replace the current one they have.

Thursday morning weather

WTF? What the forecast! There’s snow in the north, rain in the south and sunshine in the west and overcast in the east – a real mixed bag of weather for Thursday morning. The best of the sunshine is down the western coast from Oulu to Turku with temperatures up to +6°C in Hanko. It’s a damp start to the day for the capital city region and the rain extends to the Lappeenranta in the southeast and other parts of the eastern border as well. Temperatures in Lapland dip down to -4°C and up around Inari expect some heavier snowfalls as well.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 9th April 2020 / Credit: FMI