Morning headlines: Tuesday 5th February 2019

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Concerns after measles passenger takes Silja ferry

Health authorities have issued a new warning this morning for anyone who traveled on a Silja Serenade cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm and back again, between 1st and 3rd of February. A passenger suffering from measles in the infectious stage was also on board the trip at the time, and possibly exposed other passengers to risk. Officials says there’s a risk of infection from this highly contagious airborne illness if you’re even just in the same room as someone who has it. This morning, the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL tells anyone who was on board that same Silja Serenade cruise to check that their own vaccinations were up to date, as well as their children’s vaccinations, and be on the lookout for any symptoms over the next few weeks. The primary symptoms are high temperature, dry cough, inflamed eyes at first; and later, tiny white spots with bluish-white centres on a red background.

Late night fire burns Konala industrial hall

A late night fire destroyed half an industrial unit in Helsinki’s Konala area on Monday night. Video on YouTube showed high flames and thick black smoke going into the sky, and the blaze was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. The building is next to Konala ice rink, although the fire did not spread, and there are no residential homes in that area either. Some 23 fire engines were sent to fight the flames, and this morning investigators are working to find out how the fire started.

Soini in Washington for prayer breakfast

Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini is making his annual pilgrimage to America today, to take part in a prayer breakfast organised by the US Congress. This will be the fourth time that Soini, a Roman Catholic, will attend the religious event. He will also be meeting US National Security Adviser John Bolton, and taking part in a meeting of Foreign Ministers about how to defeat ISIS. He will also meet other political representatives and discuss transatlantic cooperation and security in Europe during the three day visit.

Celebrating Runeberg Day 

Finns commemorate the life and work of national poet JL Runeberg today – with cake. The poet, who lived in the 1800s, is responsible for writing the words to the Finnish national anthem, and penned some of the country’s most celebrated literary works. Traditionally, almond-flavoured Runeberg cake is enjoyed on the anniversary of his birthday.

Dragon dancing at Chinese New Year celebrations, Helsinki 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

WATCH: Chinese New Year celebrations in Helsinki

Thousands of people came to celebrate Chinese New Year in the capital on Monday night, as the Year of the Pig was ushered in with an elaborate ice sculpture, traditional music, Chinese food, and lion and dragon dancing as well. Watch our video here.

Tuesday morning weather

It’s another very cold start to the day in Lapland where temperatures range from -20°C to -30°C with snow again forecast across the region. There’s a chance of some sunshine in central and eastern parts, with the temperature down around -12°C in Jyväskylä and more snow expected. It warms up to just around freezing in the capital city region, and even a few degrees higher in Hanko and Åland. In Turku and the south west, and in the capital city region, precipitation will fall as sleet or hail this morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday morning 5th February 2019 / Credit: FMI