Finland is to reintroduce remote working as cases rise

Finland is to reintroduce remote working as cases rise – despite dropping the measures just days ago

  • Cases of coronavirus in Finland totalled 7,512, with 331 deaths, as of today 
  • The Scandinavian country plans to reinstate working from home as cases rise 
  • The recommendation in favour of remote working had ended at the end of July 

Finland plans to reintroduce a recommendation to work from home whenever possible just days after dropping it, due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, the minister in charge of managing the epidemic said on Wednesday.

Health authorities said earlier on Wednesday that 29 new cases had been recorded over 24 hours, raising the seven-day total to 98 from 52 in the previous seven days.

‘The rise in infections gives reason to consider continuing remote working …where it is possible,’ Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen wrote on Twitter, adding she had asked for official guidelines to be updated accordingly.

Passengers ask for instructions at the COVID-19 Health Information Point of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Vantaa, Finland August 3, 2020

The recommendation in favour of remote working had ended at the end of July.

New infections remained very low throughout June and July, allowing Finns to enjoy their summer holiday season in relative security but prompting some to flout social distancing rules.

Finland’s COVID-19 epidemic peaked in March and April but the quick introduction of containment measures including travel restrictions and the closure of schools and restaurants helped curb the number of infections.

Cases totalled 7,512, with 331 deaths, as of Wednesday.

A drive-in testing site for the COVID-19 at the Helsinki University Hospital in Helsinki, Finland on Friday, 31st July, 2020

Finland’s U-Turn comes as a second wave of coronavirus strikes Europe with Spain reimposing lockdowns, cases spiking in Greece and French officials warning they could lose control at any moment.

The head of Germany’s doctors’ union has declared that the country is already in the midst of its second wave because people have flouted social distancing rules.

France’s top scientific committee has warned that while the virus is under control at the moment, it ‘could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control.’ 

People wearing protective face masks walk at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris as France reinforces mask-wearing as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country, August 3, 2020

The country also reported 29 new coronavirus-related deaths which takes the confirmed total to 30,265 since the pandemic began – one of Europe’s highest death tolls (graphic showing growing number of daily coronavirus deaths in France)

The warning came as authorities grapple with a sharp increase in fresh cases which has seen more than 7,000 new infections within the last week (graphic showing growing number of daily coronavirus cases in France)

And holiday destinations such as Spain, Greece and Italy – which have bravely welcomed the tourists so vital to their economies – are also fearing resurgences as the global death toll today soared over 700,000. 

Greece recorded 121 new cases yesterday, which is the highest daily tally since April 22, and the prime minister urged the country to maintain social distancing.

Italy – once the sickman of Europe – has managed to avoid an uptick, but two cruise ships are now quarantined in the Civitavecchia port in Rome.

Spain saw 8,500 new cases over the weekend; an all-inclusive resort in Majorca was shutdown and two towns north of Madrid have been put under strict lockdown.

The number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases has ticked up steadily in recent weeks

A woman asks a health worker about the voluntary testing for covid-19 that is taking place in Ripollet, Barcelona, Spain, 05 August 2020

In France, the Health Ministry published a worrying report from the country’s scientific committee after more than 7,000 new infections were recorded in the last week

It said that the situation was ‘under control, but precarious. We could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control.’ 

The warning came as authorities grapple with a sharp increase in fresh cases which has seen more than 7,000 new infections within the last week as well as a rise in the number of people being treated for the disease in intensive care.  

The scientific committee said: ‘The short term future of the pandemic mainly lies in the hands of the population. It is highly likely that we will experience a second epidemic wave this autumn or winter.’ 

The statement added that the virus ‘has recently been circulating more actively, with an increased loss of distancing and barrier measures’ since France emerged from its strict two-month lockdown in May.

‘The balance is fragile and we can change course at any time to a less controlled scenario like in Spain for example,’ it said.  

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