Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Romania has exceeded the 5,000 daily COVID-19 infections ceiling: In the last 24 hours, 5,028 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the authorities, out of 35,351 tests performed. Another 82 Romanians died due to coronavirus infection, while 782 COVID patients are hospitalized at intensive care. The rate of coronavirus infection in Bucharest and Alba also increased, while Harghita is the fourth county to reach 3 infections per thousand inhabitants. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (685), Timis (333), Cluj (273), Iasi (268), Brasov (233) and Prahova (189).
  • Romanians are among most reluctant nations to Covid-19 vaccine: Only 57% of the Romanians polled by IPSOS agency declared ready to vaccinate for Covid-19 once such a vaccine is available – among the lowest share in the group of 28 nations part of the study. Only the Hungarians, the Polish (56% each) and the Russians (54%) are more reluctant, Radio Europa Libera Romania reported.
  • The government allocates 65 million lei for the purchase of the drug remdesivir, necessary in the treatment of Covid-19: The government supplemented the budget of the Ministry of Health, from the Reserve Fund, with 570 million lei, and 65 million lei of this amount will be used for the purchase of the drug remdesivir required for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • COVID-19 in Romania: Govt. approves home treatment for asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms: Romania’s government approved in its Thursday meeting, October 22, the emergency ordinance allowing home care for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and those with symptoms but no other medical conditions. Thus, the COVID-19 patients with mild or medium symptoms, and those with no symptoms will no longer be admitted to hospitals and will stay at home, under their family doctors’ supervision, News.ro reported.
  • Former police officer appointed Bucharest prefect: Former police officer Traian Berbeceanu was appointed prefect of Bucharest by government decision, local Digi24 reported. The decision was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday evening, October 22.Berbeceanu replaces Gheorghe Cojanu, who, also by a government decision, was appointed government inspector within the General Secretariat of the Government.
  • Romanian opposition leader says “not the right time” for elections: The head of Romania’s biggest opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Marcel Ciolacu, argued that the country is not ready to embark on the electoral campaign two weeks from now because of the recent rise in COVID-19 infection cases, News.ro reported. He advised president Klaus Iohannis, who insists on holding general elections on December 6, on listening to the best of experts in this matter: doctors Alexandru Rafila and Adrian Streinu-Cercel – the newest PSD members and candidates in the general elections. “There should be a pact between all political forces, to stop absolutely all communication regarding the pandemic, to establish a coherent communication, to have a report. I have no official report from the Romanian state regarding the pandemic. Still, I am the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies,” Ciolacu added. President Iohannis on Friday sent to Parliament a request for re-examination of the law on organization of parliamentary elections.
  • Gov’t debates on a GEO draft regarding the employment of 200 resident physicians: The Government will set to debate, in first reading, the proposal of the DSU (Department for Emergency Situations) head, Raed Arafat, a draft GEO regarding the employment of a number of 200 resident physicians in various specialties – ICU, emergency, pneumology, infectious diseases, epidemiology and radiology – who, after a period of activity of 6 months at the Gerota Hospital will be transferred, directly, without competing for the respective positions, to the hospital units where there are vacancies.
  • Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on official visit to France Monday through Tuesday: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban will be paying an official visit to France Monday through Tuesday, according to AGERPRES. According to the Executive, the head of the Government in Bucharest will have meetings with his French counterpart, Jean Castex, with the President of the National Assembly of the French Republic, Richard Ferrand, the President of the Senate, Gerard Larcher and with the President of the “Les Republicains” Party, Christian Jacob. The visit will also have an important economic component, context in which the Romanian prime minister will hold talks with representatives of the France-Romania Business Council within the Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF).
  • Cosmin Boiangiu – elected Executive Director of European Labour Authority: Cosmin Boiangiu has recently been elected as head of the European Labour Authority, about which Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu said it was “a great achievement for the Romanian diplomacy.”
  • Orban urges USR to waste less energy on inventing conflicts with PNL, focus on fighting PSD: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, the national chairman of the National Liberal Party ( PNL), said on Thursday in Giurgiu that the reproaches made to the Liberals of the context of Florin Iordache’s voting in as chairman of Parliament’s Legislative Council are not justified, urging the Save Romania Union (USR), PNL’s political allies, to focus instead on the fight against the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
  • Gov’t to support pay scale to be preserved for non-medical hospital staff into 2021: Health Minister Nelu Tataru said on Thursday that supports public hospital staff being remunerated in 2021 against the same pay scale as now. On Thursday, Tataru and senior official Dragos Garofil had a discussion with leaders of the National Trade Union of Healthcare Non-Medical Staff Professionals. According to the source, the minister mentioned to the union leaders representing the technical, administrative and economic staff in the health system that he understands the dissatisfaction with the inequities produced by the uniform public pay law adopted in 2017 and assured them that the Health Ministry supports striking a balance in the healthcare system.
  • Ministry of Education – New data on schools’ programme: 2,401 are in 3rd scenario, 4,891 2nd scenario: A number of 2,401 educational units in the country carry out their activity according to the 3rd scenario (exclusively online), and 4,891 according to the 2nd scenario (mixed), the Ministry of Education and Research (MEC) informs on Thursday.
  • Validation of the mayor-elect of Timisoara Dominic Fritz challenged in court: After the mayor-elect of Bucharest, Nicusor Dan, another mayor recently elected cannot take over his mandate. The validation of Timisoara mayor-elect, Dominic Fritz has been challenged in court by three persons, so his inauguration, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed. The appeal is registered at Timis Court.

Impact on the economy

  • Biggest M&A deal in Romania this year: Australian investment group will take over CEZ’s assets: Czech utility group CEZ has reached an agreement to sell its Romanian assets to funds managed by the Australian group Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). The deal targets seven companies, including electricity distribution networks, energy supply, and the biggest wind park in Romania (Fantanele-Cogealac), among others. The transaction’s value was not disclosed, but local media sources estimate it at around EUR 1 billion, making it the biggest M&A deal this year. The transaction documents were signed on Thursday night, and the conclusion of the transaction will be subject to the approval of the European Antitrust Authority and the Supreme Council of National Defense of Romania. MIRA would have offered EUR 1.1 billion, according to energy market sources, quoted by Economica.net.
  • December 15 deadline for companies to request rescheduling of debts accumulated in emergency state, e-billing pilot-programme to start: Companies will have until 15 December to apply for the rescheduling of debts accumulated in the period from the beginning of the state of emergency (16 March, ed. n.) until 25 October, Public Finance Minister Florin Citu said on Thursday, according to AGERPRES. He mentioned that he added to the text of the draft OUG an “extension of the deadline for VAT refund, with subsequent control, until 25 January”. The beneficiaries are all types of contributors. Individuals too will be able to pay debts to the state in tranches for 12 months.
  • EIB ready to lend EUR 190 mln to Romanian cash-strapped companies: The European Investment Bank (EIB), through four local partner banks, plans to extend EUR 190 million loans to Romanian companies in the sectors most impacted by the economic, social, and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: manufacturing, commerce, agriculture, tourism, and transport. CEC Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Romania, Unicredit Bank, and BRD Sogelease are EIB’s local partners.
  • Government approves loan agreement with European Union worth over 4 billion euro: The government has approved, by emergency ordinance, the loan agreement between the European Union, as creditor, and Romania, as debtor, worth 4,099,244,587 euro, according to AGERPRES. “This money is added to the financial package negotiated already by the President of Romania, worth 80 billion euro, and, together with the Government of Romania, they are part of the SURE program, to discount the measures to support employees and employers affected by the COVID pandemic. It’s four billion euro that Romania obtains through this loan, a loan done at the interest rate and rating conditions made by the European Commission,” mentioned the Secretary General of the Government, Ionel Danca.
  • Romanian brokerage house issues “buy” recommendation for Nuclearelectrica shares: Romanian brokerage house Goldring anticipates that the shares of state-controlled power producer Nuclearelectrica (SNN) will increase by another 16% in the next 12 months.
  • Romanian electro-IT retailer Flanco launches one-month Black Friday campaign: Romanian electro-IT retailer Flanco, which runs online operations and physical stores, kicks off its tenth Black Friday sales campaign. The promotion season will take place between October 23 and November 30 and comes with discounts of up to 80% on over one million products sold in Franco’s network of 157 stores and online, the retailer announced on Thursday, October 22.
  • Watchdog slaps EUR 1.36 mln fines on 11 energy suppliers in Romania: Romania’s energy market regulator ANRE issued fines totaling RON 6.6 million (EUR 1.36 mln) for 11 energy (natural gas and electricity) suppliers and producers. ANRE has thus sanctioned the companies’ behavior in the wholesale market.
  • Romanian banks can start offering pay over the phone facility: Transfond, a payment operator owned by Romania’s National Bank (BNR) and local commercial banks, has developed the infrastructure needed to make payments over the phone possible in Romania. Local banks or the payment service providers must first adhere to the system developed by Transfond to offer this service to their clients.
  • Huawei keeps hiring in Romania: Unimpressed by the memorandums and agreements signed by Romanian authorities in Washington to develop “clean 5G networks,” the Chinese group Huawei keeps hiring in Bucharest. The Chinese group believes the size of its investments in Romania is an argument for preventing its equipment from being banned from the country’s 5G networks.
  • Resident non-governmental clients’ deposits rise in September by 1.9 pct: The deposits of non-governmental residential clients have gone up in September 2020 by 1.9 pct over the previous month, up to the level of 397.145 billion RON and by 14.7 pct (12 pct in real terms) over the same month of last year, the National Bank of Romania informs through a release sent, on Friday, to AGERPRES.
  • Private pension system assets exceed 14 billion euro: The value of total assets, under management throughout the private pension system, reached 72.58 billion lei on 30 September 2020, an increase of 17.96 pct compared to September 2019, thus exceeding the 14 billion euro threshold, the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) announced on Friday, according to AGERPRES.
  • Almost 6 pct increase in cumulative turnover of Top 10 companies: Turnover of companies ranked in the Top 10 positions in the National Business Rankings (TNF) 2020 increased by 5.99 pct, to more than 189 billion euro, according to a release of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR), submitted on Thursday, AGERPRES.
  • Daniel Rusen, Microsoft Romania: Over 640,000 new IT jobs will be created in 5 years, but Romanian universities do not keep up, said Daniel Rusen, Marketing and Operations Director, Microsoft.