Regional News • Europe • European Union
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin leaves EU summit as contact tests positive
Sanna Marin
Sanna Marin Credit: FinnishGovernment (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Sanna Marin, Finland's Prime Minister, will immediately leave the EU summit in Brussels, return to Helsinki to take a Covid-19 test and self-isolate.

Marin came into contact with Tom Packalenin, who has since tested positive for Covid-19, in the Finnish parliament.

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven will represent Marin for the rest of the summit.

On Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the summit after a member of her team tested positive, entering voluntary self-isolation "as a precaution".

Helsinki airport tests usage of sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19
Archive picture from 2017
Archive picture from 2017 Credit: / CDC

In a pilot scheme four trained sniffer dogs have started working at Helsinki airport to detect Covid-19 infected passengers.

During preliminary university tests the dogs were able to identify the virus with almost 100% accuracy, even days before patients developed symptoms.

Regional News • Europe
EU leaders reach deal on €750 billion coronavirus recovery package
EU leaders reach deal on €750 billion coronavirus recovery package
Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Following the fourth night of talks, EU leaders have struck a deal on a huge post-coronavirus recovery package involving €750 billion in grants and loans to counter the impact of the pandemic in the 27-member bloc. The deal includes as well as a seven-year €1 trillion EU budget.

Member states were split between those hit hardest by the outbreak -- Spain and Italy --, and those more concerned about the costs of the recovery plan --Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland. While the first group wanted a minimum of €400 billion in grants, the later set €375 billion as their upper limit.

The €390 billion figure was suggested as a compromise, and "frugal" nations were reportedly won over by the promise of rebates on their contributions to the EU budget.

Regional News • Europe
Finland's air force quietly drops swastika symbol
F/A-18 from the Finnish Air Force
F/A-18 from the Finnish Air Force Credit: Airwolfhound (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Finnish Air Force Command removed the swastika from its emblem without making any announcement. The symbol had been in use since 1918 when Swedish Count Eric von Rosen gifted a plane to the nascent air force of Finland.

While the air force had stopped using the swastika on its planes after World War II, the symbol featured on unit emblems, unit flags and uniforms until recently.

Lifestyle • Travel
Finland to remove Covid-19 restrictions for some European tourists
Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Finland’s Minister of Interior Maria Ohisal announced the country would remove, from July 13, restrictions for leisure travellers from European countries where infection rate remained at a maximum of 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of two weeks.

Dogs taught to recognize smell of Covid-19 infections
Dogs taught to recognize smell of Covid-19 infections
Credit: Eff

In a pilot study by the University of Helsinki, researchers have taught dogs to pick up on the smell of Covid-19 infections. According to the study, it took only a few weeks until the first dogs were able to distinguish urine samples from Covid-19 patients from the urine of healthy individuals. As a next step, a randomized, double-blind study with a larger scale of samples will be prepared.