Morning headlines: Wednesday 14th October 2020

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

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Vote of no confidence in Krista Kiuru

Members of Parliament will get to have a vote of no confidence in the Minister for Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) today. The measure has been brought by opposition parties, lead by the National Coalition Party, who criticise Kiuru’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and in particular see blood in the water over advice given in spring about the benefits of wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus. The opposition have been trying to make the case that there was political pressure brought to bear on public health officials to not publish full advice on the benefits of face coverings, and how to wear them properly.

Senior ministry official defends mask policies

A senior official at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has defended the government’s advice on wearing face masks given during spring. Kirsi Varhila, the ministry’s Chief of Staff, says that the government acted according to the virus situation, and relied on expert advice in its decision-making. According to Varhila there was no politically-motivated guidance about face masks issued in connection with a study the ministry ordered into all types of face coverings – and on the basis of that study, carried out by a senior scientist, no general recommendation was given in Finland to tell people to wear face coverings. “The Chancellor of Justice has stated on several occasions that measures to combat the corona epidemic must be proportionate and well justified also according to the severity of the epidemic situation” Varhila writes on the ministry’s website. She also notes that in the spring the World Health Organisation was also recommending the use of face masks only in asymptomatic people when treating someone with Covid-19.

Four young adults injured in Varkkaus crash

Four young adults have been injured, one seriously, after a late night crash in Varkkaus, Eastern Finland. Emergency crews were alerted around 22:00 on Tuesday evening when the car carrying four 20-year old men went off the road and slammed into a large rock. One of the men was taken to intensive care at Kuopio University Hospital. Police say they suspect alcohol and speeding to be contributing factors in the incident.

Macedonia flights resume, but so do coronavirus cases

Flights on low-cost carrier WizzAir between Turku and Skopje have resumed again. The twice-weekly flights were paused last month because of high instances of positive coronavirus tests on passengers arriving back to Finland from North Macedonia. However it seems that there are still relatively high numbers of Covid-19 passengers on board. When last Friday’s flight landed in Turku 43 out of 49 passengers were tested for coronavirus and seven of them came back positive, according to the City of Turku. Traficom, which has the power to shut down flight routes if there’s a public health problem, say health authorities prefer to keep the route open for now, as it is better to have passengers arriving on one route they can monitor, rather than coming on different routes which are more difficult to keep track of.

Wednesday morning weather

It’s a chilly start to the day in parts of southern and eastern Lapland where temperatures are a few degrees below freezing. Elsewhere temperatures will also feel on the cool side in single digits. The best of the sunshine will be in coastal North Ostrobothnia between Vaasa and Oulu, with temperatures between +3°C and +8°C for most of the south, and west of the country this morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 14th October 2020 / Credit: FMI