Meteorologists warn that Friday night could be especially cold/Lehtikuva

According to reports by local newspapers, a 44-year-old taxi driver who went missing in Mikkeli (Etelä-Savo) has been found dead.

The frigid weather conditions also made headlines today, with the Finnish Meteorological Institute predicting freezing temperatures for Southern and Eastern Finland.

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Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine was prepared for administration by a doctor in an elderly home in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on 14 January 2021. (Radec Mica – AFP/Lehtikuva)

THE HIGH HOPES vested in coronavirus vaccines have begun to stir up concerns in policy-makers in Finland, writes YLE.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) earlier this week expressed her frustration with the sluggish pace of vaccinations, signalling a departure from the hitherto patient approach taken by the government. Both the European Union and Finnish municipalities, the government views, should pick up the pace.

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) spoke to reporters arriving for a government meeting at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Wednesday, 13 January 2021. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT on Wednesday met at the House of the Estates in Helsinki to discuss the new coronavirus variants, measures required to contain them and the situation in the events industry.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) reminded that the British coronavirus variant has already been detected in Finland.

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The Helsinki metropolitan area was hit by a fierce snowstorm on Tuesday, resulting in the region being blanketed by a thick layer of snow. The storm has led to several power outages and dangerous driving conditions in many parts of the country. 

Police and rescue services have advised people to remain indoors and avoid driving. Forecasts suggest that the storm will remain in Southern and Western Finland till Wednesday, with heavy snowfall and strong winds expected to continue till then.

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Cars at traffic lights on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki on 12 January 2021. (Teemu Salonen – Lehtikuva)

THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) decided in its recent discussions on transport emissions to defer decisions on possible tax hikes and road user charges until next autumn, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Decisions on subsidies and incentives that aim to reduce transport emissions may nonetheless be made as early as in the framework session scheduled for April.

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Residents on Laivurinkatu in Helsinki woke up to find their covers covered in thick blanket of snow on Wednesday, 13 January 2020. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

HEAVY SNOWFALL has continued to cause difficulties to motorists for the third consecutive day in parts of Southern Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday reported that dozens of road vehicles have skidded off the road and got stuck in the capital region due to the blizzard that, for example, has added 36 centimetres to the now 61-centimetre snow cover at Helsinki Airport.

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Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) says the government is mulling over tighter restrictions in response to new variants of the coronavirus. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT is under growing pressure to adopt stricter restrictions in response to the emergence of new, more transmissible mutations of the new coronavirus.

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) stated on YLE A-studio on Monday that the government has no choice but to re-examine its strategy to combat the epidemic in light of the development.

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Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens) spoke to reporters before a government meeting at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Wednesday, 13 January 2021. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT is expected to adopt tougher measures to contain the spread of new, more transmissible variants of the new coronavirus.

Helsingin Sanomat reported on Thursday that the Ministry of the Interior has been asked to draw up a proposal for stepping up measures at border-crossing points with means afforded under the ordinary legislation, an indication that the emergency powers act is not to be invoked yet.

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According to the latest statistics from online publication Our World in Data (OWID), Finland is lagging behind other countries when it comes to vaccinating its citizens against the COVID-19 virus. 

With a rate of 0.3 doses administered per 100 people, Finland is currently number 33 on the list of countries that have begun vaccinations, far below Denmark (2.0) and Iceland (1.4). 

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A nurse prepares a syringe with the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine in Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, France, on 8 January 2021. (Sebastien Bozon – AFP/Lehtikuva)

HOSPITAL DISTRICTS in Finland no longer need to set aside half of each vaccine shipment for second injections, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Friday revealed, in what appears to be a sign of optimism about vaccine shipments, that it has amended its instructions for hospital districts to make sure as many as possible are vaccinated early on.

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The Finnish government tightened restrictions in March/Lehtikuva

A new memorandum by Sitra, an independent think tank that operates under the Finnish Parliament, suggests that Swedish authorities hoped that Finland would preserve as much normalcy as possible when implementing preventive measures against the coronavirus last Spring.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, the memorandum, which was written by journalist and non-fiction writer Matti Mörttinen, states that officials from Sweden appealed to Finland, requesting that schools remain open in March.

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Adopted at ports and airports in Helsinki on 7 January, the FINENTRY service provides people planning to travel to Finland with up-to-date instructions and circumstance-based referrals to coronavirus tests. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

MEMBERS of the Finnish government will sit down today to weigh up measures to limit the entry of the new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus to Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday wrote, citing its sources, that various ministries are primarily mulling over stepping up health screening efforts at borders and introducing tougher restrictions on cross-border travel.

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Save the Children Finland (Pelastakaa Lapset), a non-profit organisation that specialises in foster care, adoption and child protection services, has revealed that they received 2,750 tips related to online sexual exploitation of children last year.

The organisation provides a service on their website which allows anyone to report illegal activities pertaining to sexual solicitation or abuse of minors. This information is then handed over to the authorities.

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The daughter of the allegedly dead asylum seeker was photographed in the District Court of Helsinki on 11 January 2021. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

THE PROSECUTION is calling for prison sentences to both defendants in a case in which the daughter and former son-in-law of an unsuccessful asylum seeker are believed to have misled the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The ECHR in November 2019 ruled that Finnish authorities violated human rights laws by deporting the asylum seeker, who had allegedly been shot dead a few weeks after his return to Iraq.

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Sanna Marin, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, and Jussi Halla-aho, the chairperson of the Finns Party, took part in a municipal election debate held by Ilta-Sanomat on Tuesday, 12 January 2020. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

POPULAR SUPPORT for the Finns Party has risen by one percentage point for the second consecutive month to 21.9 per cent, indicates the most recent opinion poll commissioned by YLE.

The Finnish public broadcasting company reported last week that the right-wing opposition party thereby held on to its position at the top of the poll by a 0.5-point margin, in spite of a 0.8-point increase in support for the Social Democrats.

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Olli-Pekka Koukkari, the head of pandemic response in Kainuu, vaccinated Jukka Angerman, the head of emergency medical services, against the disease caused by the new coronavirus, Covid-19, in Kajaani, Finland, on 5 January 2021. (Kimmo Rauatmaa – Lehtikuva)

THE WILLINGNESS of the Finnish public to get vaccinated against the new coronavirus is high compared to people in most other parts of the world, finds a global survey by the Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research (WINMR), according to YLE.

The Finnish portion of the survey was conducted by Taloustutkimus.

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