A sign for a COVID-19 testing point at the Finnish-Swedish border checkpoint in Tornio, Lapland/Lehtikuva

Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that authorities are no longer conducting COVID-19 tests on travellers crossing into Finland from Norway or Sweden via the border checkpoints in Lapland. 

Finland reported its first case of the Mu strain of the COVID-19 virus earlier this week. Officially termed B.1.621, it was designated a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month and has been detected in 39 other countries so far.

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The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Monday updated its recommendations on testing under 12-year-olds and the definition of exposure in the context of education. (Teemu Salonen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) has updated its recommendations for testing children for the new coronavirus, stating that under 12-year-olds no longer need to get tested for flu-like symptoms.

THL on Monday told that under 12-year-olds should get tested if they develop symptoms and have verifiably been exposed to a laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infection in the past two weeks.

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A young woman received an injection of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine in Helsinki on 30 June 2021. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE HOSPITAL DISTRICT of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) on Friday announced it has launched a third round of coronavirus vaccinations in an attempt to prevent a batch of 15,000 vaccine doses from expiring.

The decision was made by the hospital district and municipalities represented in the regional coronavirus coordination group on Thursday.

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Only five European countries, including Finland, registered a drop in education spending per student in 2012–2018, according to the OECD. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

FINLAND is one of only a handful of countries to reduce spending on education per student between 2012 and 2018, reveals a report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

While in the OECD per-student spending rose by an average of 1.6 per cent a year over the seven-year period, it fell by about one per cent in Finland, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

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The Kela service point in Kamppi, Helsinki/Lehtikuva

Helsingin Sanomat reports that approximately 4.4 million Finns—amounting to roughly 80 percent of the population—received some kind of financial support from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) last year.

The figure first came to light when the Managing Director of the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus) Mikko Kautto criticised the country’s current social welfare model in an interview with the paper earlier this month. 

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A medical professional tended to a patient receiving respiratory assistance due to a coronavirus infection at the intensive care unit of a university hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe, a French region in the Caribbean. (Carla Bernhardt – AFP/Lehtikuva)

HOSPITAL STAFF in Finland have voiced their frustration with the fact that most patients in intensive care with a coronavirus infection have not been vaccinated against the virus, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

“We’ve continued treating coronavirus patients this autumn, and practically everyone of them has been unvaccinated,” said Tero Varpula, the head of intensive care at Jorvi Hospital in Espoo.

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Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (left) and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen commented on the government’s family leave reform in a presser in Helsinki on Friday, 17 September 2021. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

FAMILY LEAVES in Finland are to become longer and more flexible under a reform unveiled by the government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Thursday.

The objective of the proposal is to foster the well-being of children and families, and promote equality and non-discrimination in both working life and the everyday life of families with children, according to a press release from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

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Nepal's Living Goddess 'Kumari' peeps from a window during a procession on the main day of the Indra Jatra festival at the Durbar Square in Kathmandu on September 19, 2021. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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

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A distinctive lighthouse on Åland (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE OF THE UNIQUE CULTURAL, SOCIAL, AND POLITICAL QUIRKS of Finland is its millennia-long links with its Western neighbour Sweden. Finland was a part of the Swedish Empire for more than 700 years, and today Swedish speakers form a significant and visible part of Finnish society.

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