Here's our evening round-up of the latest coronavirus news from Finland
- Latest Covid-19 cases and fatalities
- Experts: Epidemic has slowed sharply
- Economist: Restrictions costs Finland €1.2 billion per week
- Ministers consider funding for media outlets
- Layoffs at Meyer Turku shipyard
- Kainuu conscripts quarantined
Latest Covid-19 cases and fatalities
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL says there have now been 4,740 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Finland - that's an increase of 45 from Monday.
There have also been 199 confirmed deaths linked to Covid-19 in Finland so far, an increase of six from the day before.
Meanwhile the Finnish Immigration service Migri reports that they've confirmed 30 cases of coronavirus at reception centres, mostly in Uusimaa region. Officials say they'll start more extensive testing at the Nihtsilla facility in Espoo in particular after a spate of infections there.
There are 40 reception centres in Finland, with about 4,400 residents in them in total. Coronavirus has been detected in six of those reception centres.
Experts: Epidemic has slowed sharply
Experts at the Ministry of Health and THL say that the coronavirus epidemic "has slowed sharply in Finland" in a new report about the situation for the Government and parliamentary parties.
The report says that the spread of coronavirus is slower than in neighbouring countries but this isn't necessarily a good thing because a sharp slowdown can significantly prolong the duration of the outbreak, and ultimately pose a risk of a great epidemic later.
The expert report says that the current situation makes it possible to discuss a partial lifting of restrictive measures however it should be done in a gradual and controlled manner.
"If the epidemic begins to spread too fast, we must have the readiness to react quickly" the report states.
"Increased testing and tracing is a way of limiting the epidemic, but it is unlikely to suffice alone."
Economist: Restrictions costs Finland €1.2 billion per week
Restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus in Finland are costing the country €1.2 billion each week. Maurki Kotamäki, Chief Economist from the Central Chamber of Commerce Kauppakamari, says that the government has a tricky balancing act between keeping the economy from heading too far south, while at the same time keeping people safe.
“If the crisis drags on, the effects could be systemic. In this case, for example, the banking and insurance sectors of the national economy may be under threat. The task of decision-makers must be to implement a policy that minimizes financial losses in a health-safe manner" says Kotamäki.
The economist points out that the restrictions can't go on much longer because the economic effects will become unsustainable - the longer the isolation continues, the strong the possible second wave of the virus will become, he says.
"The crucial question is what is the contagion rate now and in the near future if restrictions are to be opened. However, it would be possible to start phasing out isolation using a large-scale testing-based strategy" says Kotamäki.
Ministers consider funding for media outlets
Ministers are considering the recommendations of a new report to earmark budget funds for journalism, especially local media, which has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
While media outlets are reporting increased interest from audiences looking for reliable journalism during the crisis, the advertising revenues on which many depend to stay in business have sharply declined.
The new report was commissioned by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and Minister Timo Harakka (SDP) said on Tuesday that the media’s operational capacity must be safeguarded.
“The social importance of journalism has been highlighted during the coronavirus crisis. It is an invaluable source of information for people” says Harakka.
The report makes some key recommendations which the government will consider ahead of May's supplemental budget, including direct funding grants to small and regional media outlets to continue to pay staff and do vital investigative journalism. Read more here.
Layoffs at Meyer Turku shipyard
Meyer Turku shipyard is starting negotiations to make 450 people unemployed permanently - that's in addition to temporary layoffs already announced in March which affect 900 other employees.
"The corona pandemic has changed the situation unexpectedly and totally. We are facing the fact that the corona-caused pause in cruising requires to stretch the order book" says CEO Jan Meyer.
"This new situation will force us to take painful adaptation measures to secure a sustainable future for Finnish cruise ship building and the network" he adds.
The west coast shipyard is also revising its order books for the coming years, adjusting building and delivery times for the seven ships in the pipeline.
"Instead of a further ramp-up from one to two large ships delivered per year until 2023, the estimation is now that Turku shipyard will in the future build one large cruise ship per year and not further ramp-up" says Jan Meyer.
Kainuu conscripts quarantined
A Kainuu Brigade conscript returning from leave has tested positive for coronavirus.
The soldier was coming back to barracks from leave in Vaasa on Sunday, and was tested for Covid-19 after experiencing mild symptoms. The test results came back positive on Monday.
As a result, all 28 conscripts who were traveling on the same bus, and 17 others who are in the same unit, have been put into quarantine as a precaution.
There are currently around 2,700 conscripts at the Brigade and they're divided into three rotation groups which do not encounter each other.
Common areas and vehicles are cleaned and disinfected before the groups change, and the rotations happen in two week cycles: two weeks training in the garrison, two weeks on military field training, and two weeks on leave.