Covid-19 confirmed cases in Finland and other countries

(move mouse or touch to see the trend in different countries) 

Source: Our world in data

European Commissioner in charge of Economy Valdis Dombrovskis gives a press conference on a banking package to facilitate lending to households and businesses in the EU at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 28 April 2020

European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni hinted at the possibility that the Commission may utilise pan-European tools in the form of equities to rebalance risk in the Eurozone. On the same note, the French treasury proposed in a position paper an “equity fund” to recapitalise businesses or buy shares in domestic companies.

As the European crisis deepens and pressure on the Commission mounts, the following questions arise: How and in what scale will the Commission act? Will the Commission implement a direct or indirect financial instrument to stimulate economies of EU member states?

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Ambassador Cheon Joonho

 As Covid-19’s spread subdues in Finland and other countries, harsh restrictions to curb the transmission are being loosened gradually. Although this fight won’t end soon, hope to have a more normal life is getting high. In this global fight against Covid-19, countries have adopted various approaches, but the South Korean way has caught the eyes of the world, and for good reasons.  

In early March, my country had the highest number of confirmed cases in the world outside China. Many countries shut down their borders against South Korean travellers, and foreigners hurriedly left the country.

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The world is entering an era of unprecedented interdependence: Ambassador Chen Li

Since December 2019, China has been at the center of attention for a new and different reason, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and the ensuing pandemic. While China took control of the spread inside it’s territory, the infection has now spread to almost every country in the world and both infection and deaths rates have surpassed that of China’s in some other countries. Helsinki Times sat down with Ambassador Chen Li in this exclusive interview to discuss issues related to the pandemic and China’s side of the story in this still unfolding global crisis.

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Minister of Education Li Andersson and Prime Minister Sanna Marin in press briefing on reopening of schools in Helsinki on 29 April 2020 / Lehtikuva

The Finnish government has decided to reopen basic education starting May 14th for the rest of the academic semester, which ends at the beginning of June. The decision does not leave any leeway for municipalities, schools, teachers or parents, and makes it compulsory for everyone. Teachers in risk groups or kids who have high-risk family members should present a doctor's statement to stay home. Those who have "flu-like" symptoms can also stay home.

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The Presidential Palace is illuminated in the colors of the Italian national flag and the words "we are with you" in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 31, 2020, expressing solidarity and support for Italy. / Lehtikuva

It’s a new world order defined by the global health politics of Coronavirus. The borders are back and resealed. Maybe just temporarily or perhaps we are back to where we started before the current global integration. The year 2020 started on a high note. At least, besides the old known problems, we were not expecting fundamentally earthshaking ones. Forecasts were positive and optimism was high.

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Slovak military personnel unload an Ukrainian cargo plane An-12 Ruslan shortly after it has arrived from China, loaded with 74 tons of face masks, respirators and.../ Lehtikuva

In the past few weeks, the COVID-19 epidemic has spread at an unexpected pace into a pandemic. Meanwhile, the situation in China is trending steadily towards a positive direction. At present, we are working around the clock to resume production, putting medical protective materials on the top of manufacturing list, and trying our best to support the world in the fight against the virus. However, China’s motives were questioned and politically interpreted recently.

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“We are a group of concerned parents who started a PETITION to the Government on 13 March to close Universities, schools, daycares, public places and events due to the coronavirus outbreak. Following the announcement of THL on the testing approach and WHO recommendations to isolate, test, treat and trace in order to suppress and control the epidemic, we updated our petition to include also a plea to the Government to re-consider the testing approach.

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When a cruise ship sinks in the ocean or an airliner crashes and the causes are examined retrospectively, human error turns out to be the most common cause of the disaster. Someone pushed the wrong button, miscommunicated, slept on his watch, missed the signs or misunderstood or disobeyed instructions.   

In our Titanic today, that navigator, who doesn’t believe in maps and thinks the best way forward is right through the iceberg, seems to be Mr Mika Salminen, The director of health safety at Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

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“It’s time for Europe to disregard unlawful and unilateral US sanctions against Iranian People.”

It’s time for Europe to disregard unlawful and unilateral US sanctions against Iranian People.”

After China and Italy, Iran has been one of the most affected countries by the Covid-19 pandemic. The country which has been under extreme sanctions by the United States was already in economic hardship before the pandemic. Has there been any ease of sanctions or help from the international community in fighting the disease ? How does Iran manage in this extraordinary harsh situation?

We put these and other questions to the newly accredited Ambassador of Iran in Finland Ms. Forouzandeh Vadiati. 

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South Korea lost control initially, but was able to reduce the spread through rigorous testing and without the need of a shutdown

The Finnish government suddenly woke up last Monday and implemented severe measures against the spread of Covid-19. Schools and borders are closed, all non-essential gatherings of more than ten people are forbidden, and the elderly and chronically ill were put in a high level of isolation. Most importantly, after a period of losing count, testing is to be ramped up.

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On the 23rd of February Italian authorities started to implement draconian measures including school closures which decreased the transmissions clearly.

As scientists, we are very alarmed by City of Helsinki’s decision not to close schools. According to THL, Finland is now in the epidemic phase of COVID-19. As in other countries, unless strong measures are taken, infections are expected to rise exponentially until a very large proportion of the entire Finnish population will be infected. Given current estimates of case fatality rate (3-4% according to WHO), and the necessity of intensive care for a significant proportion of the patients (in Italy 10%) this is an extremely worrying scenario.

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