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New 'Finland Forward' mental health initiative launched
President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) appeared together – but separately – at a Friday afternoon press conference.
The pair announced a new initiative called ‘Finland Forward’ which aims to support the mental wellbeing of the nation during the coronavirus epidemic.
Niinistö joined the event via video link to launch the campaign where he said “this devil is defeatable. We will defeat it.”
The project will highlight good deeds, positive stories and acts of kindness across the country during the coronavirus outbreak, through virtual events and online updates.
“We are grateful to witness how so many people, organizations and companies have wanted to help and support others,” says the Prime Minister. Read more.
More funding for vaccine research
Finland is joining two international organisations working to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and contributing €5 million in total funding to help the work.
The money is going to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations CEPI, and the International Vaccine Institute IVI. Currently, there is no vaccine or pharmacotherapy to the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
In practice, the development of a vaccine is the only way to stop the spread of the virus and dozens of teams worldwide are working on possible solutions.
After a vaccine is developed, it will have to be produced and distributed on a vast scale, a challenge when the virus situation varies between different countries.
"Finland considers it important that the availability of safe, high-quality and affordable vaccines be safeguarded in all countries," the Ministry of Health says in a statement.
Helsinki ready to convert coronavirus hospital
The City of Helsinki plans to convert the old Herttoniemi Hospital into a facility for coronavirus patients. Officials say the renovations could be done within a week, with space for up to 400 beds.
“Herttoniemi Hospital is the most sensible alternative for a reserve hospital as it is a former hospital. The facilities are good for this purpose, and they can be converted quickly with relatively small changes,” says Helsinki’s Medical Director Laura Pikkarainen.
The extra facility would take the strain off Laakso and Malmi hospitals for Covid-19 patients moving from intensive care to rehabilitation. Herttoniemi Hospital was last used for in-patient treatment on wards back in autumn 2015.
More allowances for entrepreneurs hit by Covid-19
The Ministry of Employment & Economy has announced a new coronavirus-related benefit for entrepreneurs.
The allowance can be paid to anyone already receiving a startup grant, on days when they cannot work due to the virus.It’s effectively an unemployment benefit, which the entrepreneurs might not otherwise qualify for, and the ministry says the new money will allow startup owners to secure their livelihood in exceptional circumstances which could not have been foreseen when they started their business. Read more.