News in brief

Newspapers highlighted President Sauli Niinistö’s comments on the coronavirus pandemic and the current situation in Finland.

The local press also reported on the challenges facing schools in light of new regulations and attempts to jump the queue for the COVID-19 vaccine.


President Niinistö yet to be vaccinated

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has stated that Finland is currently on a razor’s edge in terms of the current coronavirus situation. 

In an online conference with the Association of Political Journalists, Niinistö said the mounting cases in the country are a cause for concern. He revealed that he has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine himself, and is currently in the queue for the same. 

Niinistö also pointed out the slow progress of vaccinations in Europe and questioned the policy of EU member states that focus on their own procurement of vaccines in a blog post earlier this month.


Finns trying to jump the queue for vaccines

Health centres across the country have reported receiving multiple requests from people wanting to skip the queue and move ahead of those on the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine.

While many of these requests come from healthcare workers, who are eligible for the vaccine as per the policies of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), a significant number are from people who do not belong to high-priority groups. 

Olli-Pekka Koukkari, who is responsible for pandemic management in Kainuu (Eastern Finland), told Yle that he receives around 10 calls a day from people requesting to be moved up the queue. 


Schools struggling to cope with new THL recommendations

THL has instituted a new set of regulations for schools to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variant. These include maintaining social distancing of over two metres, wearing a mask at all times and staggered mealtimes in cafeterias.  

Several schools are reportedly finding it difficult to put the recommendations into practice. The need to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres is particularly challenging, owing to restricted space in classrooms. 


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times