Latest coronavirus numbers
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL confirms there have been 2,605 cases of Covid-19 detected in Finland, with 42 deaths from the virus so far.
The number of positive cases is an increase of 118 from the day before and reflects also an increase in the number of tests being carried out. Health authorities say they hope to be able to conduct up to 4,000 tests each day in the coming weeks.
Most of the cases of coronavirus have been discovered so far in the capital city region - that’s also where the most patients are in hospital for treatment.
Across the country 244 people are currently receiving hospital care, with 82 in intesive care.
Twenty-one mayors criticise government's municipal aid plan
Mayors from 21 Finnish cities have written an open letter criticising the government's new offer to help their finances.
In an open letter to Sanna Marin, signed by the mayors of the C21 network (which includes Helsinki, Espoo, Hämeenlinna, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa, Seinäjoki and Pori, among others), the group said they were unsatisfied with the current compensation plans, calling them insufficient and ambiguous.
"Finland’s coalition government made a decision-in-principal on 8 April to grant the country’s municipalities with approximately one billion euros in compensation to cover expenses associated with the covid-19 pandemic. According to the latest estimates, however, this would only cover about half of the costs Finnish municipalities will incur" the letter says.
The C21 mayors say the financial situation for many municipalities was already challenging before the coronavirus outbreak, and if not enough compensation comes from the state for the money they have to spend to fight the pandemic, then they will have to consider cutbacks and tax increases to maintain a balanced budget.
Passenger numbers highlight huge air travel drop
The coronavirus pandemic has predictably had a huge impact on Finland’s air traffic.
National carrier Finnair has had to cut up to 90% of its schedule, and other airlines which would normally fly into Finnish airports have also scaled back due to travel restrictions and lack of passengers.
Helsinki Airport, which would normally see 57,000 passengers every day, has just over a thousand passing through at present.
“The epidemic, which became a worldwide pandemic outbreak in only a few weeks, has affected the entire industry in very significant and far-reaching ways. The situation has also had an effect on airlines and companies that operate at airports as well as jobs and investments” says Kimmo Mäki, Finavia’s CEO.
The total number of air passengers for all Finavia airports fell by more than 20% between January and March. Read more.
Domestic face mask production to start soon
Finnish company Lifa Air has signed a deal with the National Emergency Supply Agency NESA to start producing millions of face masks. Although Lifa Air has has production facilities in China, they will make the masks in Finland to meet the domestic supply.
The company is currently manufacturing the KN95 respirator masks in China which correspond to the European level of FFP2 protection which has more than 95% filtration efficiency.
When production begins in Finland the company will also make the FFP2 masks as well as FFP3-level equipment. Production is supposed to start in the spring, and the company says "as soon as possible" after equipment to make the masks is brought from China.
EK: Make coronavirus tests free for everyone
The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK is urging the government to treat coronavirus in the same way other common widespread illnesses like measles and salmonella, and make testing free for everyone.
EK says that free tests even at private clinics would be in the interests of equality as it allows people with symptoms to get a Covid-19 test without having occupational health coverage through their employer.
“Extending testing to all symptomatic workers would be essential for society” says Auli Rytivaara a physician with EK.
“This is also an occupational safety issue, as employers must guarantee a safe and healthy workplace for all their employees” she adds.
The strategy of public health providers is to give Covid-19 tests to people in high risk groups when they develop symptoms – such as elderly people, those with underlying health conditions or health workers, or anyone who presents with sever symptoms of coronavirus. Read more.