Meteorologists warn that Friday night could be especially cold/Lehtikuva

According to reports by local newspapers, a 44-year-old taxi driver who went missing in Mikkeli (Etelä-Savo) has been found dead.

The frigid weather conditions also made headlines today, with the Finnish Meteorological Institute predicting freezing temperatures for Southern and Eastern Finland.

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The Finnish government tightened restrictions in March/Lehtikuva

A new memorandum by Sitra, an independent think tank that operates under the Finnish Parliament, suggests that Swedish authorities hoped that Finland would preserve as much normalcy as possible when implementing preventive measures against the coronavirus last Spring.

According to Helsingin Sanomat, the memorandum, which was written by journalist and non-fiction writer Matti Mörttinen, states that officials from Sweden appealed to Finland, requesting that schools remain open in March.

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According to the latest statistics from online publication Our World in Data (OWID), Finland is lagging behind other countries when it comes to vaccinating its citizens against the COVID-19 virus. 

With a rate of 0.3 doses administered per 100 people, Finland is currently number 33 on the list of countries that have begun vaccinations, far below Denmark (2.0) and Iceland (1.4). 

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The Helsinki metropolitan area was hit by a fierce snowstorm on Tuesday, resulting in the region being blanketed by a thick layer of snow. The storm has led to several power outages and dangerous driving conditions in many parts of the country. 

Police and rescue services have advised people to remain indoors and avoid driving. Forecasts suggest that the storm will remain in Southern and Western Finland till Wednesday, with heavy snowfall and strong winds expected to continue till then.

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Save the Children Finland (Pelastakaa Lapset), a non-profit organisation that specialises in foster care, adoption and child protection services, has revealed that they received 2,750 tips related to online sexual exploitation of children last year.

The organisation provides a service on their website which allows anyone to report illegal activities pertaining to sexual solicitation or abuse of minors. This information is then handed over to the authorities.

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A monolith in a field in Salo, West Finland, in December 2020/Lehtikuva

The series of mysterious metal columns known as “monoliths,” which have been popping up without warning in various locations across the globe since last year, has been baffling Finns.

There have been numerous monoliths sighted in the country, with the latest one appearing at an intersection in the rural municipality of Nurmijärvi this week. 

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 Today, local newspapers warned readers about the threat of a third wave of COVID-19, which promises to wreak havoc if it hits the country before an adequate section of the population has been vaccinated. 

News outlets also touched upon the upcoming cold wave in Finland, with the freezing temperatures already leading to numerous accidents and mishaps involving thin ice.  

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Starting this weekend, the Helsinki-Vantaa airport will require all travellers arriving in the country who do not have sufficient evidence of a negative coronavirus test result to undergo screening.

Finnish law prohibits authorities from demanding certificates or documentation related to coronavirus tests from travellers coming into the country. They may, however, insist on them taking a test at the airport.

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Local news today focused on the limited supply of qualified nurses in Finland and Norway’s newly imposed border crossing policy.  

 

Shortage of nurses drives Finland to look abroad

Finland is currently facing an acute shortage of nurses and care workers with the situation likely to worsen in coming years. The growing demand for nurses, coupled with a steady retirement rate has led to a strong decline in the number of caregivers available.  

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Laiho at a concert in 2015/Lehtikuva

Alexi Laiho, lead guitarist, vocalist and founding member of the internationally renowned Finnish metal band Children of Bodom, has died. 

While the cause of death has not yet been confirmed, a press release from his record label stated that the 41-year-old, who died in his home in Helsinki, had been suffering from “long-term health issues.” 

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New Year's Eve in Finland was relatively peaceful and quiet this year. Celebrations were understated in many areas and there were no major incidents reported by the police.

Officials in various regions across the country urged citizens to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many chose to follow recommendations and brought in the new year quietly at home. As per the police centre in Oulu, for instance, the evening seemed to proceed like a normal Friday night.

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