Coronavirus latest: Tuesday 17th March 2020

Here's our daily round-up of all the latest Covid-19 coronavirus news from Finland.

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Coronavirus graphic / Credit: iStock

Here’s the latest news you need to know about coronavirus in Finland:

  • 319 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Finland
  • Tram, train & metro service reductions; VR lays off staff
  • Finnair cancels more flights and AGM
  • Picking up prescriptions for sick neighbours and relatives
  • Government unveils first €5 billion aid for businesses

319 confirmed cases of Covid-19

The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare says they’ve confirmed 319 cases of Covid-19 in Finland – and so far no fatalities.

However not everyone with symptoms is being tested, only people in high risk groups like those with underlying medical conditions, or key workers in healthcare for example. THL has estimated that the actual number of people infected with coronavirus in Finland is likely to be 20 to 30 times higher than this.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms, or anyone returning to Finland from abroad, is being told to self-isolate for 14 days and only seek medical assistance if their health takes a turn for the worse.

Train, tram and metro services being reduced, VR lays off staff

Public transport services are being reduced across the country due to falling passenger numbers in the current corona outbreak.

In the capital city region metro passengers will have longer gaps between services, while trams will run on a Saturday timetable. Full details can be found at this link.

And VR says it’s going to have to make staff cuts because they’ve seen “significantly lower passenger numbers” down by as much as 60% on both long distance and shorter routes.

Allegro and Tolstoy trains between Finland and Russia are being suspended as well. Details of the final services in the next 24 hours can be found at this link.

Finnair cancels more flights and postpones AGM

Finnair has started to cancel flights until the end of June, and also delaying it’s annual general meeting which was supposed to have been held on Wednesday.

The domestic flights in Finland that have been canceled are Helsinki-Tampere, Helsinki-Turku, Turku-Kittilä, Tampere-Kittilä. Flights to Mariehamn will be operated once per day Monday to Friday.

European flights that are canceled: Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Stuttgart, Hannover, Billund, Bromma, Lyon, Malaga, Gazipasa, Antalya.

Canceled intercontenintal flights are: Punta Cana, Phuket, Krabi, Bangkok, Singapore, Hurghada, Dubai.

The Finnair AGM will be postponed until a later date, which the airline will announce later.

Collecting prescriptions for sick neighbours, relatives

People who are in high risk groups for catching coronavirus – with underlying serious medical conditions, or elderly people – are being discouraged from visiting pharmacies to collect their prescriptions. This also applies to people aged over 70 who have been advised to self-isolate and practice social exclusion.

However it’s possible to authorise a friend, neighbour, relative or colleague to pick up prescriptions on your behalf.

The process can be accessed through the suomi.fi website. The person picking up the prescription just needs to take their passport, ID card or driving license to the pharmacy when collecting the medication.

Government unveils first €5 billion virus aid for businesses

The government has announced the first steps to hit businesses in Finland impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

This week Business Finland will launch two new services to help mitigate the financial impact of the virus, especially targeted towards tourism companies, creative industries and all businesses whose supply chains are affected.

These new measures are part of an initial €5 billion fund the government is making available to help the economy during the crisis, with more exact measures likely to be spelled out at the end of the week with the government provides details of its supplementary budget proposal.

“As an entrepreneur, when you spot a financial crisis in your business, get in touch with your bank and finance first. We will ensure that the service threshold is low” says Mika Lintilä (Centre), the Minister for Economic Affairs.

Read more at our story here.