Morning headlines: Tuesday 13th October 2020

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


Finnish research finds antibodies remain for four months

New research carried out by THL and the City of Helsinki finds that patients who get coronavirus retain their antibodies for four months afterwards. A total of 39 families were including in the test, including children and at least one person in each family had a confirmed Covid-19 test. Most of the people who were infected became mildly ill and did not require hospitalisation. However almost all coronavirus-infected patients developed the antibodies within the first month of infection – and although the amount of antibodies decreased during follow-up testing, at the four month point there were still antibodies present. “While we don’t yet know with certainty that immunity protects against a new infection, it is the neutralizing antibodies that are likely to matter. This study showed that neutralizing antibodies were formed in almost all those infected with the coronavirus and most of them also survived during follow-up” explains THL’s Merit Melin.

Mask controversy rumbles on, with more political back-and-forth

A political controversy about recommendations for using masks during the spring continues to rumble on. The CEO of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL Markku Tervahauta told Ilta-Sanomat on Monday evening that his organisation wanted to give the public some more information about the practicalities of wearing a mask in spring: how to put them on properly and how to wash them. However Tervahauta claims the Ministry of Health blocked THL’s request to share this information more widely. In response, the Ministry has again shared the links to advice it published in April informing the public about how to wear and wash the masks. “Contrary to public claims, STM has already reported in early April on the safe use of face masks” the ministry writes on Twitter. Needless to say, opposition MPs have seized on this latest twist in Finland’s ‘maskgate’ scandal as a sign the government has lied or participated in some sort of coverup to deceive the public during spring about masks.

Flow Festival pockets €780,000 funding, distributes €700,000 in profits 

The company behind the popular summer Flow Festival in Helsinki received €780,000 of funding this year from the Ministry of Education and Culture, part of an overall package of €7 million government money for the sector, which is supposed to help support cultural events that were canceled during the coronavirus crisis. However, in newly published financial statements the company behind Flow Festival has revealed it distributed €780,000 in dividends to its owners based on 2019 income. Flow received the largest grant paid out to any cultural event, 11% of the ministry’s total pot, and CEO Suvi Kallio tells Iltalehti newspaper the money will be used to cover production costs incurred by the canceled 2020 festival as well as fixed staff and premises costs. She notes that the 2019 dividend was paid out before the coronavirus crisis hit.

Centre Party MPs would restrict climate change information in schools

A group of four Centre Party MPs wants to restrict the activities of Extinction Rebellion activists, to stop them going into schools to talk to students about the climate crisis. The MPs have now written to the Ministry of Education asking if they knew about the outreach programme, and what steps will be taken to prevent Extinction Rebellion, and “other movements that break the law” from visiting schools. Fifty-one protesters were arrested at a recent Extinction Rebellion demonstration in Helsinki, when activists sat in the road in an act of peaceful civil disobedience. Police resorted to using pepper spray on their faces to get some of them to move.

Alko sales up 15% in September compared with 2019

Alcohol sales at Finland’s chain of state-owned booze shops Alko jumped 15% in September compared with the same month last year. This is despite a general slump in alcohol consumption during the coronavirus crisis. Sales of rosé wines increased the most, with sales up 40.6%; sparkling wine sales increased by 20.2%; white wine was up 19.2% and sales of spirits were up 16.8%. “Especially rums and whiskys have increased sales compared to last year” says Alko Business Director Kari Pennanen.

Tuesday morning weather

There’s good news if you’re waking up in Vaasa or Inari this morning: that’s where the best of the sunshine is, so enjoy it! There’s some sunshine too, peeking out from behind the clouds, in the capital city region. Expect quite a bit of cloud cover elsewhere but with glimpses of sun this morning. Temperatures feel on the cool side, ranging from zero in northwest Lapland to +3°C in Oulu, +6°C for Vaasa and Jyväskylä, +7°C for Turku and across Uusimaa as well.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday morning 13th October 2020 / Credit: FMI