Covid-19 confirmed cases in Finland and other countries

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Source: Our world in data

Following the unexpected launch of the world’s first digital currency, Bitcoin, in 2009, there has always been an alternative for nomadic travellers and expats seeking a universal form of payment for goods and services. Bitcoin and its secure, decentralised blockchain network laid the foundations for a ground-breaking new monetary system that automated cross-border transactions, circumventing conversion fees in the process.

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As more investments are being made in the tech industry, this is having a knock-on effect on the employment of people in Finland. In fact, more and more technology jobs are available for the Finnish people. Since 2018, there has been an increase in the salaries of people who are working in the tech industry. Furthermore, there has been an increase in the number of developers that have been hired. That includes front end developers and those with specialist skills, including Javascript.

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on many industries around the world, especially the travel and hospitality industry. However, some industries are actually experiencing surprising growth either directly or indirectly due to the corona crisis. We will have a look at a few of these industries that appear, at least temporarily, to be the winners of the pandemic. 

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Finnair aircraft at Helsinki Airport on 18 May 2020. The Finnish majority state-owned airline says it intends to operate over 30 per cent of its regular flights in July and 70 per cent by the end of December. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

FINNAIR on Wednesday announced it will initiate talks over additional temporary lay-offs with all its 6,100 employees in Finland.

The Finnish majority state-owned airline stated in a press release that it has resorted to temporary lay-offs during the course of this spring after operating no more than five per cent of its regular services since April.

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Image: Lehtikuva

Home sales volume fell by tens of per cents in April. In many parts of Finland, the decreased sales have also led to falling prices. The sales volume of the newest flats fell the least.

According to the sales statistics on old homes issued by the Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies, the sales volume of flats, terraced houses and detached houses fell 33.7% from April 2019.

“We expected this to happen this spring because of the corona pandemic. The sales and managing directors of OP Koti branches expected a similar decline rate in a survey we conducted in April,” says Kaisu Christie, SVP, Mortgages, Collateral and Real-Estate Services at OP.

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Contactless cards allow payments of up to 50€ in Finland / Lehtikuva

The crisis has also shaken up consumers’ payment habits. Cash withdrawals have nearly halved during the pandemic, while paying by card has gained ground in domestic purchases. Payment card data by OP shows that the average value of purchases by consumers has grown by 25 per cent, while non-travel related online shopping has increased by nearly a third.   

For nearly two months, Finns have practised social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The new situation is also clearly visible in payment habits.

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A man examined a bottle of sparkling wine in an Alko shop on 29 April 2020. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

THE ALCOHOL RETAIL MONOPOLY of Finland, Alko, has revealed that it sold a total of 9.1 million litres of alcoholic beverages in April, the first full month under the state of emergency declared by the government on 16 March.

The amount represents an increase of 23 per cent from April 2019.

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A summer cottage in Kemiö island / Lehtikuva

In the market for holiday homes, demand is now outpacing supply. Compared with last year, OP has seen a significant increase in both the number of loan applications and the applied loan amounts.

Owing to a mild winter, the holiday home season began unusually early, and business has been brisk despite the coronavirus crisis. In April, the number of loans applied from OP cooperative banks to purchase or build a holiday home grew by 40 per cent from last year.

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Finnish retail giant Kesko has announced its intent to become carbon neutral by 2025 and eliminate all emissions by 2030. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

K GROUP on Tuesday declared that it has not lost its focus on climate actions despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Finnish group of car, grocery and building hardware retailers said it has updated its climate goals and intends to become carbon neutral by 2025 and eliminate all emissions from its operations and transport by 2030.

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A temporarily closed restaurant in Ruoholahti, Helsinki, on 4 May 2020. The Finnish government is expected to relax its restrictions on the restaurant industry on 1 June. (Olivia Ranta – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH Hospitality Association (Mara) has declared that the newly announced 123-million-euro package to support the restaurant industry and its workers is insufficient.

Mara on Wednesday demanded that the government almost triple the package to 350 million euros, highlighting that restaurants are among the businesses worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the measures adopted to contain it.

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