Covid-19 instructions for passengers at Helsinki Airport on 6 July 2021. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE EUROPEAN CENTRE for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has highlighted Finland in red on its weekly updated map of the continent on grounds of the coronavirus situation.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has revealed that 140 infections per 100,000 inhabitants were detected in the country between 27 September and 10 October, representing a surge of over 30 per cent from the period between 13 and 26 September.

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A Hindu devotee carries oil lamps during the celebrations on the tenth day of the Dashain festival at a temple in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on October 15, 2021. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Thursday voiced her support for calling off the cuts in funding for culture and arts. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) and Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens) on Thursday announced their readiness to call off the much-discussed cuts in funding for arts and culture, echoing the earlier demands of Minister of Education Li Andersson (LA).

The government decided on the cuts in response to a drop in the proceeds of Veikkaus, the state-owned gambling monopoly that is a significant source of funding for arts, culture and sports.

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YIT has concluded the co-operation negotiations concerning white collar employees in Finland. The co-operation negotiations covered the transition to a more efficient, competitive, and customer-oriented operating model, as well as the implications on personnel and options related to the planned change.

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Mika Salminen, the head of health security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), provided an update of the epidemiological situation in Finland in Helsinki on Thursday, 14 October 2021. (Mika Salminen – Lehtikuva)

ROUGHLY 238,000 people must still receive the second injection of a coronavirus vaccine to raise the vaccination coverage to the target of 80 per cent in Finland, Mia Kontio, a leading expert at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), told on Thursday.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of over 12-year-olds in the country are currently fully vaccinated against the virus.

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A healthcare worker at the emergency ward of the Turku University Hospital/Lehtikuva

Southwest Finland currently has more COVID-19 patients in intensive care than ever before during the pandemic. A staggering 90 percent of patients in the ICU are reportedly unvaccinated.

The coronavirus coordination group of Southwest Finland has stated that the situation is worrying, as the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation and intensive care has reached a critical level. 

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Majority of Finns are against the introduction of a health tax, according to a poll by Finnish media conglomerate Uutissuomalainen. The proposed tax, which is currently being prepared by the government, would promote public health by increasing levies on items such as sugar. 

The health tax met with strong disapproval from 48 percent of those polled, but 37 percent said they would support it. Around one in seven (15 percent) respondents were undecided. 

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A syringe was filled with a dose of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine in Los Angeles, the United States, on 7 August 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon – AFP/Lehtikuva)

FINLAND has promised to donate approximately 3.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries during the course of this autumn through Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax), reports YLE.

The donation is only a drop in the ocean but important nonetheless.

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The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) says that it has made the process of obtaining a work-based residence permit for foreigners faster and more efficient in 2021 compared to the previous year. 

In a press release, the agency stated that while the average processing time for a residence permit based on employment was 143 days in 2020, it has been reduced to 77 days this year.

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Demonstrators on the steps of the Parliament House in Helsinki on 1 October 2021. Helsingin Sanomat has commissioned a survey showing that the public is not exactly convinced that policy makers are ready to take action required to curb global warming. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH PUBLIC are rather pessimistic about the climate pledges made by nations around the globe, finds a survey commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

Over 70 per cent of the respondents expressed their doubt about the ability of humankind to limit global warming to 2°C, or if at all possible to 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels in accordance with goals laid down in the Paris Agreement.

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A protest held by Extinction Rebellion Finland blocked traffic on Pitkäsilta Bridge in Helsinki on 6 October 2021. (Seppo Samuli – Lehtikuva)

THE DISTRICT COURT of Helsinki has issued an order to sequestrate up to 20,000 euros in funds held by Elonvaalijat ry, the association behind Extinction Rebellion Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday reported that the sequestration order was issued at the request of officers at Helsinki Police Department. They are presently investigating whether the activities of the association meet the elements of money collection offences.

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Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP) attended a panel discussion on municipal policy organised by the Association of Finnish Municipalities in Helsinki on 15 September 2021. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) believes the legislation should enable the abrogation of marriages into which at least one of the parties has been forced, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The proposal states that the abrogation would restore the previous marital status of the party, but in other respect the legal ramifications of the abrogation would align with those of a divorce.

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The new meal recommendations for higher education students call for all students to be offered equal access to tasty, diverse and nutritious meals regardless of their individual dietary needs or place of study. The recommendations also address sustainability goals.

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Markus Lohi, the chairperson of the Parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee, spoke to reporters in the Parliament House on Tuesday, 12 October 2021. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH PARLIAMENT on Tuesday approved the contents of a bill for implementing the co-called coronavirus pass, after an hours-long debate about both the pass and entry restrictions consisting of more than a hundred statements from lawmakers.

A final vote on the bill is scheduled for Friday.

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