Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) at the government’s press conference on Friday, 3 April 2020. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT has pledged more financial support to businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi), a government-owned venture and private equity capital firm, will launch a new funding programme worth 150 million euros for medium-sized businesses with a significant economic and employment impact later this month.

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Firefighters tackle the blaze in the early hours of this morning (Image: Lehtikuva)

FIREFIGHTER IN SALO, SOUTHWEST FINLAND spent much of the early hours of this morning tackling a monster blaze that engulfed a sawmill near the town. Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the blaze, with no clues as of yet. 

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A restaurant advertising takeaway food on Iso Roobertinkatu in Helsinki on 27 March 2020. Slumping demand, coupled with the prospect of strict restrictions on operations, has already seen a number of restaurants temporarily lay off staff, according to Mara. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE NUMBER of Finns who could be laid off, temporarily or permanently, due to the coronavirus outbreak is growing by the day, with an estimate released at the start of this week indicating that employers are in consultative talks with as many as 280,000 employees.

The companies that have announced consultative negotiations include Altia, Fiskars, Konecranes, SSAB and UPM, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

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The coronavirus outbreak has silenced the usually lively Helsinki Market Square. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

MANY RESIDENTS of Uusimaa headed to their cottages and stayed there despite the recent decision to prohibit all unnecessary travel in and out of the over 1.6-million-resident region, indicate statistics compiled by Telia.

Helsingin Sanomat revealed on Wednesday that Helsinki had roughly 23,000 fewer residents on the day of the adoption of the restrictions, 28 March, than on 14 March.

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A pregnant woman dons a face mask for a walk in Hong Kong (Image: Lehtikuva)

AS THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT continues to implement new emergency measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, some vulnerable groups have been left feeling that not enough has been done to address their needs and concerns.

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The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) says its laboratory began to analyse coronavirus samples around the clock on Monday, 30 March 2020. (Teemu Salonen – Lehtikuva)

THE HOSPITAL DISTRICT of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) has announced it will substantially ramp up its laboratory testing capacity for the new coronavirus.

HUS on Monday said its virology and immunology laboratory began to analyse coronavirus samples around the clock seven days a week on Monday, 30 March. HUS will additionally acquire some testing capacity from private service providers.

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The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s (THL) head office in Helsinki on 11 March 2020. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

MARKKU TERVAHAUTA, the director general of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), has reminded that the coronavirus epidemic is expected to escalate despite the fact that the strict restrictions and recommendations seem to have limited the daily number of new infections in Finland.

“If everything goes very well, this epidemic could slow down significantly in the near future,” he stated to Uusi Suomi on Thursday.

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Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, talked to reporters outside the House of the Estates in Helsinki on 24 March 2020. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

TESTING for Covid-19 should be increased further in Finland, state Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, and Aki Lindén (SDP), an ex-managing director of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS).

Lindén on Tuesday acknowledged that testing has already been increased but argued that the capacity must be ramped up further to ensure the coronavirus epidemic can be contained.

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) delivered an update on the coronavirus situation to members of the media in Helsinki on Monday, 30 March 2020. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) on Monday announced the government will extend its measures to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in Finland until 13 May.

The Finnish government announced a fortnight ago it will invoke the emergency powers act to, for instance, suspend in-person teaching at schools and universities, limit visits to care facilities and order over 70-year-olds to self-isolate in a bid to combat the pandemic.

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The Western Uusimaa Police Department HQ in Espoo (Image: Lehtikuva)

FINNISH POLICE AUTHORITIES have issued warnings over an alarming increase in scams across the country that are designed to take advantage of people's fears over the COVID-19 virus. Evidence has suggested that older people are at particular risk of being targeted by con-artists. 

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) led her fellow cabinet members to a press conference about the coronavirus outbreak in Finland in Helsinki on Monday, 30 March 2020. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

POPULAR SUPPORT for the Social Democratic Party has jumped by 4.4 percentage points to 21.1 per cent in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, finds the most recent opinion poll commissioned by Alma Media.

The Social Democrats and Finns Party traded places at the top of the poll, with the latter seeing its popularity dip by 1.6 percentage points to 20.1 per cent since early February.

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The famous statue on Mannerheimintie earlier today (Image: Lehtikuva)

THE ICONIC KOLMEN SEPÄN STATUE in central Helsinki has been given a makeover to reflect the unusual times we find ourselves living in, as well as some messages of support for those who are struggling to cope with the new realities brought on by the spread of the Covid-19 virus. 

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Mika Salminen, the head of health security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), reacted at a government press conference in Helsinki on Wednesday, 1 April 2020. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE STRINGENT RESTRICTIONS on movement and social contact adopted by the government have slowed down the spread of the new coronavirus in Finland, tells Mika Salminen, the director of health security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Salminen on Wednesday confirmed that the virus is no longer spreading exponentially, as it was expected to do without any restrictions.

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A teddy bear sits in the window of a home in Porvoo (Image: Lehtikuva)

THE SO-CALLED 'TEDDY BEAR CHALLENGE', which aims to keeps kids active and entertained during the Covid-19 shutdown that has put a halt to normal life for most children, has found popularity in Finland after the trend began in the US.

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Stockpiles of critical goods and equipment in a security of supply reserve in Southern Finland. (Handout – National Emergency Supply Agency)

THE SECURITY OF SUPPLY RESERVES of Finland have been opened to guarantee the availability of health care equipment for the first time in the post-war era due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The health care reserves were opened last week for the health care districts of five university hospitals under a decision by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

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