Tuesday’s papers: visa problem, omicron sting, road sign bustle | New

Helsingin Sanomat explains how Finland could restrict issuing tourist visas to Russians, ahead of Tuesday’s government discussion on the matter.

The E22 panel indicates an inhabited area, where the speed limit is automatically 50 km/h. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

The Finnish government will discuss on Tuesday how to deal with the issue of tourist visas for Russians, Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun)reports. A political agreement is expected to be reached during Tuesday evening’s session, but formal decisions will not be taken until later.

Although Finland cannot stop issuing tourist visas to Russians, the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said other visa categories could be given priority over tourist visas.

“An arrangement like this could be implemented by the Foreign Office, which we believe would be in line with Schengen rules,” Haavisto told the newspaper.

It is up to Finland to decide how much time it spends processing visa applications from Russia, writes HS. Since visas are only issued by appointment, Finland could reduce the number of visa applications by shortening the available processing times during which people can come to the office.

In March, the deputy Timo Heinonen of the opposition National Coalition Party (NCP) urged Finland to temporarily stop issuing visas to Russians. Finnish party chair Rikka Purra also called for a complete suspension of visa issuance.

However, there are also completely opposing views, reports HS. Erkki Tuomioja (SDP), deputy chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said he supported Germany on this issue.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz argued on Monday that tourist visas should not be banned for all Russians because the war in Ukraine is “Putin’s war”.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) stressed that she would like EU countries to decide together to restrict travel by Russian tourists.

Omicron vaccine expected in Finland

Hanna Nohynekchief medical officer of the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), said Finland would receive the vaccine once the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves it.

“We have stated in the EU Joint Purchase Agreements that we want the first variant-matched vaccines in Finland as soon as they are approved. After approval, the import will take a few weeks,” Nohynek told IS.

The vaccine should be effective against at least one serious disease, Nohynek said, because it is more effective at producing antibodies against the variant than vaccines developed against the original form of the coronavirus.

According to Nohynek, the Moderna vaccine is specifically for those who need booster doses.

The E22 panel sparks discussion

Drivers recently raised the issue to contribute to the discussion of traffic issues caused by the E22 sign.

The sign indicates a populated area, where the speed limit is automatically 50 km/h. Therefore, there is no additional speed limit sign.

Readers discussed the sign in a Finnish column on driving and transportation, which IL picked up.

A motorist wondered if tourists knew that the road signs indicated a speed limit.

Another reviewer wrote that while most drivers don’t intentionally break traffic rules, they should be as easy to follow as possible, so a speed limit sign would be a nice addition.

A third driver described the problems he had encountered respecting the 50 km/h speed limit after noticing the E22 sign.

“I encountered road rage when I myself slowed down properly at the traffic sign,” the motorist wrote.

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