Morning headlines: Wednesday 21st October 2020

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


Police investigate elderly care home deaths

Police in Eastern Finland are investigating coronavirus-related deaths at a nursing home run by Attendo in Kiuruvesi as possible crimes related to financial gain. The preliminary investigation should be completed by the end of the year. Twelve elderly people died at the care home during the spring and their deaths are now being investigated by the Financial Crimes Unit – and ‘financial gain’ could mean that insufficient resources were allocated by the care home operators to ensure the safety of residents. Attendo’s CEO Virpi Holmqvist tells Lännen Media she doesn’t know any circumstances where Attendo could have received an economic benefit connected with the events at the Kiuruvesi facility.

HS poll: Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats remain on top

A new poll published this morning in Helsinki Sanomat takes a look at the popularity of Finland’s political parties if an election was held right now. It shows the Social Democrats, lead by Prime Minister Sanna Marin maintain their lead with voters at 20.9% down very slightly from the previous HS poll. The right-wing Finns Party is up almost half a percentage point on 19.% in second place; while the National Coalition Party loses some support in third place on 16.8%. The popularity of the Social Democrats seems to come at the continued expense of the Greens who shed 0.8% to stand at 11% in 5th place. The Centre Party under new leader Annika Saarikko have posted a modest gain up 0.4% to 11.2% to leapfrog into fourth place. The five parties in the government coalition have a combined voting popularity of 55.3% according to this new survey which was carried out by Kantar TNS and questioned 2,583 people between 14th September and 16th October. The Margin of error with the largest parties is 2.1 percentage points.

Wastewater study finds ‘record high’ drugs use 

A new THL study of wastewater finds that drugs use was at a ‘record high’ throughout Finland in March, but then decreased in spring and summer. Samples were taken in March at 27 wastewater treatment plants, with weekly samples being monitored in Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Kuopio and Oulu. It found the use of amphteamine, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamines was at a record high in several locations. Researchers found peaks in Helsinki, Espoo, Lahti, Tampere, Joensuu, Vaasa and Kemi for example. In some areas like Åland, Rovaniemi and Oulu there was a decrease in drug use which scientists attribute to restrictions on tourism and by factors affecting the availability of drugs in general.

Restaurants, nightclubs, to have different restrictions 

There will be a new distinction between restaurants, bars and nightclubs when it comes to future regional restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus around the country. The  Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs and Health decided on Tuesday that it will all depend on how much alcohol or food an establishment sells – a distinction that other countries in Europe have been tackling recently as well. In practice restrictions will be more strict on nightclubs and pubs than in food restaurants and cafes. Experts say problems will arise for pubs that sell food, or cafes with an alcohol license and whether business owners have to adapt their operating models to fit into one category or another, so they can stay open and try to keep income flowing where possible.

Telia and Nokia team up for 5G rollout 

Telecoms operator Telia and equipment manufacturer Nokia have signed a new five-year deal to develop Finland’s 5G mobile phone network. It means that Nokia will provide Telia with the radio network for Telia base stations which allows the company to upgrade their 4G network to offer 5G services. The deal comes as Telia announced it’s July-September results which showed a 14.5% decrease in profits, due in part to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Wednesday morning weather

The wet snow and rain that arrived in western parts of Finland last night is spreading north and east as the day goes on. That means some deteriorating road conditions around the country especially through central areas so drive carefully, reduce speeds, and keep safe distances with the vehicle in front. Temperatures range from -5°C in northwest Lapland, and stay below freezing, or hovering around zero down as far south as Vaasa, Jyväskylä and Joensuu this morning. It’s much more mild in Åland and on the south coast, starting the day at +9°C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 21st October 2020 / Credit: FMI