Morning headlines: Wednesday 5th February 2020

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

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THL issues new coronavirus guidelines for travelers

The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare THL has issued new guidelines for travelers about the Wuhan coronavirus. There has been one confirmed case so far in Finland, with a patient from central China who came to Lapland on holiday. Now THL says that anyone who gets a sudden respiratory illness should contact a hospital or healthcare centre by phone in the first instance. Symptoms might include fever, cough or shortness of breath that occur within two weeks of arriving from China. Rapid diagnosis is important to prevent other people getting sick, says THL. The new instructions are included on THL’s website also in Chinese.

President formally opens Parliament’s spring session

President Sauli Niinistö will officially open the spring session of Parliament today. Events begin with a service at Helsinki Cathedral at noon where the Archbishop of Turku Kaarlo Kalliala will be giving the sermon. Later the president will give an address to Parliament and declare the session open. The Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen (Centre) will give the formal response on behalf of MPs. The day culminates with a gala concert at Sibelius Academy in the evening.

Brexit means job losses at European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki

Up to ten British nationals could lose their jobs at the European Chemicals Agency ECHA in Helsinki as a direct result of Brexit. After the UK formally left the European Union on 1st February, the Chemicals Agency updated its website to show the only people who can apply for jobs now are European Union and European Economic Area nationals. “The UK [left the EU] on 1 February 2020. Hence, as of that date, the European Chemicals Agency can no longer hire UK nationals unless they have another EU or EEA nationality” the website says. News Now Finland understands there are ten UK nationals among the ECHA’s 600 staff in Finland who will no longer be eligible to work there, and at the end of the year their future employment is decided on a case-by-case basis. Read more at our original story here.

Finland celebrates 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.

Wednesday morning weather

There’s a cloudy start to the day across much of the country, and expect snow in the east from Lappeenranta all the way up the eastern border into Lapland. The coldest temperatures on Wednesday morning can be found in Lapland as well, ranging from -13°C to -27°C. Elsewhere it’s -12°C in Oulu, -7°C through Central Finland, -2°C in Vaasa (the best of the sunshine on Wednesday morning is in Northern Ostrobothnia), -4°C in Lahti and just around freezing in Hanko on the south coast.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 5th February 2020 / Credit: FMI