The fact that Finland's emergency supply agency was able to provide adequate protective equipment during the outbreak was enough to make its neighbors in northern Europe envious for a long time.
Empty senate square in Helsinki.Empty senate square in Helsinki.
As novel coronavirus swept the world, a small northern country's response to an outbreak was of interest.It is Finland, a corner of northern Europe.
As of 19 April, the cumulative number of novel coronavirus infections in Finland was 3,783 and the cumulative number of deaths was 94.In comparison with other Nordic countries (Sweden had 14,385 confirmed cases and 1,540 deaths;A total of 7,384 cases and 355 deaths were confirmed in Denmark.Norway has a total of 7,078 confirmed cases and 165 deaths), with a mortality rate of one million, Sweden 151, Denmark 61, Norway 31 and Finland 17 - Finland's new crown mortality rate is only one ninth that of Sweden.
As the author of "the unhappiest country in northern Europe," Sweden (ranked seventh in the world's happiest country by 2020, again bottom of the Nordic countries, with Finland at the top), I always sigh at the excellent anti-epidemic report of Finland.
Sweden's lack of strict quarantine policies and the closure of "crowd" places such as schools and restaurants makes it hard to compare with Finland.But even in horizontal comparisons with Norway and Denmark (which have implemented much the same measures as Finland), at least on current results, Finland is doing better.
Finnish citizens have been urged to stay at home as a result of the outbreak.Finnish citizens have been urged to stay at home as a result of the outbreak.
Admittedly, it would be biased to compare the gains and losses of countries' epidemic prevention policies based on the current data.Because the statistical standard of data varies from country to country, the public epidemic prevention policy also varies in the implementation level.It would be more reasonable to wait a few months before the data are generally complete.
But apart from specific policy comparisons, there are other ways to look at Finland's performance so far.Some of the reasons are obvious, such as Finland's location.
The colder one in the Nordic countries
Finland is in the northernmost part of Europe, bordering only Sweden, Norway and Russia by land.Moreover, the borders with Sweden and Norway are all sparsely populated in the north, near the Arctic Circle.In addition, only the southeast borders Russia.Finland is further away from the southern European countries hardest hit by the outbreak than several other northern European countries.
Perhaps there's a better reason: social distance.
In vaccination manuals around the world, there is a strong emphasis on reducing social contact, avoiding close contact, and preferably isolating people at home.Here, the nordics seem to have a natural advantage.
People here are known for being "cold" and are more socially distant than in the countries of southern Europe where the disease is most severe.Children often move out of their parents' homes in adulthood, and living with parents as adults is rare.
The finns, on the other hand, are among the colder northern europeans.
There are a lot of stereotypes about finns among swedes (and a lot about danes and norwegians, of course).For example, "knife". Finns always carry a knife because they like to work in the forests of northern Europe or walk around.And the people who love to stay in the forest are mostly silent and willing to endure loneliness.
Of course, knives also mean violence.This can also be linked to another stereotype, "hard liquor", which refers to the serious drinking problem among the underclass in Finland.Finland's per capita alcohol consumption is the highest in the Nordic countries, and 90% of alcohol is consumed by 10% of the population, which is a terrible social problem.From the perspective of social psychology, one of the main causes of drinking is the lack of social contact and lingering "loneliness".
By the way, in Denmark, the southernmost part of northern Europe, an urban legend has it that Copenhagen's drunkards come from Sweden.Should that sentence, no contrast, no harm.
In the age of the Internet, some of the little secrets (strictly speaking, stereotypes) circulating in northern European societies have been transferred to the chinese-speaking world by the curious.As a result, a Chinese Internet term called "jingfen" was born. The full name of "jingfen" is "spiritual Finn", which refers to a group of people like the finns who are not social and attach great importance to their personal space.This is indeed one of the stereotypes of finns.
However, it should be added that in real life, the nordics, including the finns, are not cold or indifferent, they are just slow.
Geography and social distance are not enough to explain Finland's good vaccination performance.The next agency to be mentioned, Finland's Huoltovarmuuskeskus (national emergency supply agency), may provide some more solid reasons.
An empty streetcar in Finland.An empty streetcar in Finland.
War preparedness in peacetime
Finland's national emergency supply agency is giving its people a shot in the arm at a time when countries across Europe are suffering from a shortage of medicines for the new pandemic.
"Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Finland's national emergency supply agency has opened up its stock of medical equipment for the first time since world war ii," the Helsinki times reported on March 30.The first stocks will be used in the health care area of Finland's five university hospitals.
Finland's national emergency supply agency has its roots in the national war economic commission, which was established in 1924, during the turbulent early years of Finnish independence.Since then, the name of the organization has changed several times as the situation has changed, and in 1993 it became a permanent subsidiary of the ministry of economic affairs and employment.
The emergency supply agency's stock of medical supplies reportedly includes a wide range of medical equipment in addition to masks: needles and syringes, catheters, surgical and other protective gloves, scalpels, surgical sutures and more.Another 1,457 important drugs are on the list.During the current outbreak, the emergency supply agency was able to provide adequate protective equipment to the medical establishment, which alone was the envy of its neighbors in northern Europe for a long time.
Finland hockey arena.Finland hockey arena.
In addition, emergency supply agency warehouses across the country have "enough fuel for five months and bread flour for six months and corn for 12 months."
The New York times reported: "Finland has what is considered to be the best pool in Europe and has been accumulating it for years.It includes not only medical supplies, but also oil, grain, agricultural tools and raw materials for making ammunition."
"It is a secret how many warehouses there are in the country, where they are located, who is managing them and what goods they contain," said Jyrki Hakola, head of the national emergency supply agency.But I can say there are a lot of them, all over the country."He added that "there is no similar system anywhere else in Europe.In the '90s, it was only Sweden, but then they decided it wasn't useful after the cold war."
Why Finland in nearly 30 years after the end of the cold war, still retains a lot of resource reserves, Norway's national defence research institute Magnus, Ken starr DE (Magnus Hakenstad) is explained: "Finland is in the Nordic countries' preparation person, ready to respond to major disaster or a third world war, it has entered into the DNA of the finns."
A deeper look at Finland's sense of crisis requires an understanding of the country's history.It can be said that the modern history of Finland is a history of survival between the cracks, by the tide of The Times.
In 1940 Finland was forced to cede territory (red zone) to the Soviet union, and the hanko peninsula was leased.In 1940 Finland was forced to cede territory (red zone) to the Soviet union, and the hanko peninsula was leased.
Survival in between
Many people don't know that Finland was part of Sweden from 1150 to 1809.It was not until February 1808 that the russians invaded and occupied Finland. In September 1809, Finland was formally ceded to Russia, becoming the grand duchy of Finland under the tsar and with greater autonomy.
A little over a hundred years later, in 1917.That year, Europe was still in the throes of the first world war, while in Russia there were major events that changed the course of modern human history -- the outbreak of the October revolution and the birth of the bolshevik-led Soviet regime.Taking this opportunity, Finland declared its independence on December 6 of the same year and was finally recognized by the Soviet regime on December 31.But true independence was not easy to come by, and for a long time the Soviet union implicitly supported the communists in Finland.
Something more urgent happened.In August 1939, in the german-soviet non-aggression pact secretly signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet union, Finland was included in the Soviet sphere of influence.After sending troops to the three Baltic states, the Soviet union began to attack Finland on November 30 of the same year, which became known as the "winter war".
Facing the Soviet army, which was overwhelmingly superior in both Numbers and military equipment, the Finnish army took advantage of its familiarity with the weather and terrain to deal with it, and inflicted heavy losses on the Soviet army in the early days of the war, which was a classic case of "the weak defeating the strong" in modern war history.But after heavy losses in the early battles, the soviets quickly adjusted, combined with overwhelming superiority in equipment and personnel, and finally broke through the main Finnish line in early February, forcing Finland to Sue for peace.In March 1940, the two sides signed a peace agreement in Moscow, forcing Finland to cede 11 percent of its territory and about $300 million in war reparations, ending the war between the dwarf and the giant.
What happened after that is well known.When world war ii ended in 1945, the Soviet union was the victor, and Finland, as the defeated nation, received harsher punishment than it had received in 1940, including substantial war reparations and the restoration of its 1940 borders.
But compared with its Soviet neighbours, Finland was lucky after the second world war because it was able to keep its independence and autonomy.
During the cold war, Finland walked carefully in the grey zone between the western and Soviet blocs, and even as the Soviet union collapsed, Finnish officials remained cautious.Their passive and ambiguous stance towards the independence movement in neighbouring Estonia has been heavily criticised by other Nordic countries.
Finland has always taken a neutral position and has never joined NATO, the defence co-operation organisation of European and north American countries with Russia as their main imaginary enemy.Finns know the consequences of being offended.
As David colby, a British historian of "a brief history of Finland", puts it: "small countries cannot be favored by history, and blatant defiance in the face of the harsh realities of power politics can only lead to disaster."Careful, cautious, is the way to live a small country.
The 2016 European council on foreign relations report reflects this sense of crisis and deep insecurity in Finland."Although the public support for the eu to Finland has never reached a high level, but Finland is particularly keen to strengthen the relationship with the European Union and the whole of Europe, in the field of security", "insisted that the development of the eu's defence, Finland and emphasized the importance of the eu mutual terms", "the idea of unity between eu member states are most likely to appear in Finland's security and defence".
The swedes also have a stereotype of the finns, "sisu."The word can be translated as "indomitable, or hardy," which is a far more positive impression than knives or spirits.The finns love to elevate sisu to the heights of the national spirit, associated with their survival during the harsh, long Nordic winters, and their many times in modern history when they fought fearlessly against powerful enemies.
A eurobarometer survey in 2001 found that finns put national identity first at a much higher rate than the eu.Young finns have a strong attachment to past episodes and identities, such as Finland's struggle for survival during the war, rather than abstract values such as democracy or Nordic society.
The new outbreak may last a year or two, or as long as 2003, but the history of its eastern neighbour still hangs over the finns.And they don't know when the shadow will lift.It is this sense of survival with the crisis, let the rainy day finns more prepared for the virus.
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