Finland’s government imposes new restrictions to tackle the worsening Covid situation as final preparations are made to start vaccinating children ages 5-11.
Changes to Finnish border security measures are expected to be announced later this week as authorities prevent the Omicron variant from entering the country. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva
All of Finland’s national and regional newspapers on Wednesday morning included reports from Tuesday’s government meeting in the House of Estates, which discussed strategies to combat the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.
Helsingin Sanomat writes (switch to another service) that new restrictions and additional measures be put in place in areas that are in the process of spreading the epidemic in the community, as well as a nationwide recommendation that people work remotely when possible.
“We are in a race against the Delta virus. It spreads faster, although the vaccination rate is increasing, ”reports HS, Minister for Family and Social Affairs Krista Kiuru (SDP) said after the meeting, adding that the situation has worsened with the advent of the new Omicron variant. It has not yet been confirmed in Finland, but some suspected cases are being tested.
The exact nature of the new restrictions will depend on the decisions of the regional authorities known as Regional State Administrations or Avi, but in Kiuru’s opinion the next 2-3 weeks will be crucial in how Finland deals with the epidemic.
The minister also said the government will provide more information on restrictions on Thursday, particularly on how authorities can step up security at the Finnish border to prevent the variant of Omicron from entering the country.
In a separate article (switch to another service)HS reports that Finland is making final preparations to introduce Covid vaccines for children aged 5-11 and that the process may begin as early as Christmas week.
Covid infections in the age group of 5-11 year olds have risen steadily since mid-October, writes HS, from then about 4,000 cases per week to now about 7,000 weekly infections.
“We have found in the past that the infection rate increases sharply in adults, but also in children.” Emmi Sarvikivi, a chief doctor of the health authority THL, told HS.
The National Advisory Committee on Vaccines (Krar) is expected to deliberate on the issue of vaccinations for children ages 5-11 on Wednesday, but it may still be a few days before a final decision is taken by other authorities.
Everyone on board the vaccination bus
Aamulehti reports from Tampere (switch to another service) via an innovative solution by the city health authorities to further increase the vaccination rate: the vaccination bus.
AL jumped on the bus when it stopped near the city’s central market square on Tuesday evening and soon discovered that a long line of willing vaccinates had formed in the square.
“When we first got to the marketplace, we wondered if anyone would come here, but that was a success,” Nurse Jaana Ihalainen Aamulehti said, adding that most of the people who showed up were there for their second dose.
“And always the first thing that is really good,” she said.
The vaccination bus is parked in different places in the city and stays for about 2-3 hours straight, reports AL, and between 130 and 140 people receive a vaccination each time. Before the wider introduction of the Covid Pass, it was around 60 to 80 vaccine doses per day.
“We are trying to find ways to make vaccination easier for the people in Tampere,” said Ihalainen.
Small dog, big career
The long and eventful career of the Parson Russell Terrier with the Häme police force included helping to recover an estimated one million euros in cash, as well as finding more than 100 kilograms of drugs and almost 70 weapons in over 2,000 searches.
Jekku was also named Police Dog of the Year 2018, writes IL, as well as a number of other honors.
Jekku’s work is continued by his protégé, Patrik, whose training and work can be followed via the Instagram account @ poliisikoirapatrik_k9, revealed the Häme police department in a Facebook post.