A medical professional injected a dose of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine in Espoo on 23 April 2021. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE BOOKING SYSTEM for coronavirus vaccination appointments will be opened for 16–19-year-olds in Helsinki on Wednesday.

“It is extremely important that we can start vaccinating also younger age groups. This is important for preventing the spread of the epidemic and the virus mutations possibly crossing the border into the country,” Timo Carpén, a medical director at the City of Helsinki, said on Monday.

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Jussi Halla-aho on Monday announced he is not seeking a second term at the helm of the Finns Party. The right-wing opposition party will convene to elect his successor in Seinäjoki in August. (Silja-Riikka Seppälä – Lehtikuva)

JUSSI HALLA-AHO on Monday startled the Finnish political landscape by announcing he will not seek re-election as chairperson of the Finns Party.

“Not everyone will like this decision, at least immediately. I’d tell them that I’m not making this decision, or any other, on flimsy grounds on the spur of the moment, but after long and exhaustive consideration. This is the most right decision I can make,” he stated in a press conference.

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Here are the most eye-catching images of this week, from all around the world.

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A person received a jab of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine in Messukeskus, Helsinki, on 11 June 2021. (Silja-Riikka Seppälä – Lehtikuva)

HELSINKI will open its booking system for coronavirus vaccination appointments to 16–24-year-old residents next week, Timo Lukkarinen, a medical director at the City of Helsinki, revealed to Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday.

After the age group has received the first vaccine injection, the city will proceed to administering the booster doses and weighing up whether younger age groups should also be vaccinated.

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The Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued high temperature warnings for half of Finland today as Eastern and Southern parts of the country are expected to bear the brunt of the ongoing heat wave. 

Southeastern Finland will likely experience the highest temperatures, with the mercury forecast to rise above 30°C. The warm weather (with an average temperature of 24 degrees) is expected to continue till Thursday, with Tuesday slated to be the hottest day of the week. 

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Environmental activists with Extinction Rebellion Finland (Elokapina) have gathered on Mannerheimintie as part of a protest that began on Thursday afternoon but continued overnight till Friday. 

Around 120 demonstrators pitched tents and mattresses near the Parliament so they could sleep on the street on Thursday night. Police have been stationed at the spot and are directing the traffic on Mannerheimintie, which is the main thoroughfare in Helsinki.   

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A customer and staff member shook hands in a bank in Helsinki in March 2018. High interest in housing loans has forced banks to add personnel to ensure the applications are processed without major delays. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

FINNS are presently applying for new housing loans at an unusually high rate, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Jani Eloranta, the head of personal banking at Nordea, on Wednesday told the newspaper that a surge in applications for housing loans has prompted the bank to take action to ensure the applications are processed without major delays.

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A car parked in front of a block of flats in Helsinki on 2 July 2020. (Olivia Ranta – Lehtikuva)

THE WANING of the coronavirus pandemic will cool down the housing markets in the Nordics, predicts Danske Bank.

House prices have climbed rapidly across the region in the past year as people have looked for abodes with more space for remote work, study and free-time activities – by as much as 18 per cent in Denmark and Sweden, 11 per cent in Norway, and almost five per cent in Finland.

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Locals enjoyed a warm summer day in Esplanade Park in Helsinki on Thursday, 17 June 2021. (Silja-Riikka Seppälä – Lehtikuva)

A HEATWAVE is forecast to deliver temperatures of up to 30°C to southern and central parts of Finland as of Friday.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has issued a hot-weather warning to several regions for today, with the mercury forecast to climb to 25–28°C in southern and central areas and even closer to 30°C in Häme, Pirkanmaa and Satakunta.

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Staff welcomed people arriving to Finland from Estonia in West Terminal in Helsinki on 15 March 2021. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is expected to ease its restrictions on work-related travel by land and sea from Estonia, Norway and Sweden, reports STT.

The Finnish news agency revealed yesterday that it has received information suggesting that a decision on easing the restrictions on business travellers at land and sea borders is to be made today and enter into effect at the turn of the week.

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Private consumption is forecast to recover, albeit at a slower rate than expected due to the cautious approach taken to lifting restrictions, in Finland in 2021–2022. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

ECONOMIC GROWTH in Finland will pick up to 2.6 per cent in 2021 and to 2.8 per cent in 2022, forecasts the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday pointed out that although the economic situation has fluctuated notably in the first half of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the positive signs have strengthened clearly, with the outlook for both exports and investments becoming brighter.

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Kirsi Pimiä, the permanent state secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, commented on the easing of entry restrictions for business travellers in a news conference in Helsinki on Thursday, 17 June 2021. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

THE MINISTRY of the Interior on Thursday confirmed that the lifting of restrictions on business travellers arriving to Finland from the other parts of the EU and Schengen Area by land or sea as of Monday, 21 June.

Finland will also scrap entry restrictions for leisure travellers from the same group of countries who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or recovered from the coronavirus disease in the past six months.

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A new study by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Kela found that over half the students studying at higher education institutions experienced feelings of loneliness during the ongoing COVID- 19 pandemic. 

The preliminary results of the study indicate that young women in particular have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with as many as three out of four female university students aged 18–22 reporting that they felt lonelier than ever before. 

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An activist watched as police officers carried another into a police vehicle in downtown Helsinki on Sunday, 20 June 2021. (Teemu Salonen – Lehtikuva)

POLICE in Helsinki brought a total of 117 people into custody in connection with a demonstration organised by Extinction Rebellion Finland on Sunday.

Helsinki Police Department reported yesterday that 104 people were taken into custody for failure to comply with police orders to vacate the road on Mannerheimintie, the main thoroughfare of Helsinki, and 12 on Unioninkatu. One more person was taken into custody for contumacy to the police in conjunction with a counter-protest organised on Sunday.

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The Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital district (HUS) has revealed that there was a 8.9 per cent increase in the number of births in the region this Spring compared to the previous year. Uusimaa registered a total of 7,089 births from January to May this year, compared to 6,511 births during the same period last year.

The Women’s Hospital (Naistenklinikka) in Helsinki and Espoo Hospital accounted for 80 per cent of the births, and saw a 7.2 per cent increase (380 more) in births compared to last year. 

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Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto (Greens), the chairperson of the Parliament’s Audit Committee, attended a plenary session in the Parliament House on 25 May 2021. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE ACTIONS of Tytti Yli-Viikari, the director general of the National Audit Office (VTV), have “significantly undermined” confidence in the operations and public image of VTV, according to the Audit Committee of the Finnish Parliament.

The Audit Committee on Tuesday said the Parliament’s Chancellery Commission should determine whether the director is able to perform her duties in accordance with the act on public officials.

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