Morning headlines: Tuesday 11th August 2020

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

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New testing regime, and fines or prison time for travelers who don’t self-isolate

Finland will introduce fines or even a possible three month prison sentence for people who refuse to go into self-isolation when they arrive from a high risk coronavirus country. Speaking at a Monday evening press conference, Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) announced there would be compulsory testing and self-isolation for passengers arriving from those locations – the new rules being invoked for the first time using provisions in the Infectious Diseases Act. It’s not clear yet how Finnish authorities will enforce the self-isolation rules. The new testing and self-isolation regime also apply to ferries arriving from Sweden, with Krista Kiuru confirming the rules will be extended to all border crossings “as soon as possible.” Read full details at our story here.

Autumn budget negotiations begin today

Preparations begin today on the 2021 state budget, with representatives from the Ministry of Finance meeting at House of the Estates in Helsinki to work on their own budget proposal. Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) is leading the process which forms the basis of discussions between the five coalition parties in government. During September the government then unveils its budget which goes to parliament for discussion and a vote later in the autumn. This year’s budget process is constrained by the coronavirus crisis, which has had a big impact on the economy with the government forced to push through several supplemental budgets as the year’s gone on to inject more money into the economy.

Contact tracing app gets a name 

Finland’s official contact tracing app is getting a new name ahead of its public rollout. It will be called ‘Flash’ – or ‘Koronavilkku’ in Finnish. The smartphone app, which is entirely voluntary to use, can help public health officials know how coronavirus is spreading around the country, but primarily is there to let users know if they’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19. Development on the new service began in May and it’s currently being tested on a local level with healthcare workers in Tampere and Helsinki. It will be available to the public for download in September. Read more about Finland’s contact tracing app development at our original story here.

Turku knife attack hero in court over compensation fraud 

A Sweden-based UK national hailed as a hero during a terror attack is in court today facing charges of fraud. Hassan Zubier was left in a wheelchair with spinal chord injuries after he rushed to the aid of a mass stabbing event in Turku in August 2017. He has previously admitted to prosecutors that he tried to defraud the state of Finland over financial compensation claims by submitting forged earnings documents from an ambulance company in Sweden. He’ll be appearing in the Southwest Finland District Court today to face charges in connection with the attempted fraud – and had previously been awarded €1,000 per month until age 65 by Finnish authorities, based on the forged paperwork. Zubier was given bravery honours by Finland and Britain over his selfless act during the Turku attack.

Man arrested after dog thrown from balcony

Police in Rovaniemi have arrested a man suspected of throwing a dog from a balcony. Lapland police department received a call on Monday evening to say that someone had thrown the animal from the top floor of an apartment building. Police say that when a patrol car arrived at the scene the suspect was sitting in a car in the car park and threatening to blow himself up with an explosive. Officers talked to the man and got him to give up the device. The dog was seriously injured when it was thrown to the ground and had to be put down.

Food camps teaching lessons about cooking & nutrition

Children at food food camps around the country have been learning lessons about nutrition and sustainability that organisers hope will help them develop healthy cooking and eating habits. The August camps, run by the 4H organisation, took place just before schools start back again and involved hundreds of boys and girls aged 8-12 years old. “The general idea of the food school is, to teach the children about healthy food, exercising and how to take care of themselves, but also teaching them where the food comes from” explains Maria Lill-Smeds, one of the leaders at the Porvoo food camp. Over the course of four days the children learn about cooking by chopping, frying, tasting and smelling their own food as they prepared breakfast, lunch and a snack. They also got to visit a local fisherman to find out more about their role in food production. Read more at our original story here.

Tuesday morning weather

It’s a slightly cooler start to the day across Finland, especially in northern and eastern areas where cloud cover keeps the temperatures hovering between +10°C and +12°C through Lapland and down the eastern border. Elsewhere there’s plenty of sunshine through Ostrobothnia, down the west coast, through central areas, into Pirkanmaa, the southwest, Åland and Uusimaa. Temperatures range from +13°C in Jyväskylä to +15°C in Vaasa, Helsinki, and +17°C for Mariehamn to begin Tuesday morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday morning 11th August 2020 / Credit: FMI