Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  1. Record high of casualties due to Covid-19 reported in Romania in the past 24hrs: 2,121 new cases of COVID-19 infections have been reported in Romania on Tuesday, October 6, out of 23,476 conducted tests. A record high of victims due to the novel coronavirus has been registered today, 73. At the same time, a new record high has been also reported on patients in intensive care – 608. Counties with the highest number of daily COVID infections are: Bucharest-403, Suceava – 71, Teleorman – 71, Timiş – 82 and Constanţa – 76. The mayor of Galati, Ionut Pucheanu, was confirmed with the novel coronavirus. The mayor posted on Facebook that he is OK, has mild symptoms and he is self-isolated at home. Cristina Neagu who plays in the Romanian national handball team also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  2. PM Orban tests negative for Covid-19, yet remains in isolation after in contact with a journalist who tested positive: PM Ludovic Orban has suspended his public activities and meetings and will be tested for COVID-19 after having attended a TV show whose host had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It is about journalist Silviu Manastire who is hosting a TV show at B1 TV. PM Orban had taken part in his show on Tuesday. Later on Monday, the result for the PM’s test came back negative, yet the premier remains in isolation and is to repeat the test on Thursday, October 8.

 

 

Political and regulatory

 

  1. Authorities ban biggest pilgrimage in Romania amid growing COVID-19 cases: Romania’s National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU) decided on Monday, October 5, to limit the attendance to religious events and celebrations amid growing COVID-19 infection cases. According to this decision, only locals will be allowed to attend religious events held in Romanian localities. CNSU took this decision just days before the start of the biggest pilgrimage in Romania, which brings tens of thousands of Orthodox Christians to Iasi at the relics of Saint Parascheva. However, it’s unclear how the authorities will be able to implement this measure, given there are currently no restrictions on free movement in place in Romania.
  2. Romania toughens restrictions on foreign travelers amid growing COVID-19 numbers: Anyone coming to Romania from Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium or UK will have to go into quarantine for 14 days, the Romanian authorities have decided. Those who plan to stay in Romania less than three days and present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours before entering the country don’t have to quarantine. Romania’s National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU) approved the new restrictions on Monday, October 5. The new rules apply starting Wednesday, October 7.
  3. Romania’s opposition will not defer general elections yet: The head of Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD), the main opposition party that holds a quasi-majority in Parliament, announced that it will not derail the Government’s plans to hold the general elections on December 6, for now, Agerpres reported. Still, Marcel Ciolacu left the door open for such a scenario, “depending on how the pandemic is managed.” “[But] if we have 4,000 infections a day, I think it is legitimate for a vote in Parliament to postpone the elections (…). For now, the proposal [to defer general elections for March 2021] is not subject to a vote, we will see how the pandemic develops,” the PSD president said. National chairman of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Kelemen Hunor said in Arad on Tuesday that he is against the proposal to postpone the general election, considering that there is neither legal basis nor guarantees that the COVID-19 pandemic prospects will be any better early next year. UDMR’s chairman Kelemen Hunor made a brief analysis of the party’s prospects in the general elections, saying that he is optimistic about UDMR’s results, which should be at least equal to those of 2016.
  4. Plain-clothes police officers to check prevention rules are followed: Plain-clothes police patrols will be deployed to check that the Covid-19 prevention rules are followed, sources told G4Media.ro and Digi24.ro. Around 20% of Police officers will patrol in plain clothes. They will check if people wear a mask in the public venues where this is required and that social distancing norms are followed. The decision was taken as many people wear the mask when spotting Police officers and otherwise ignore the rules, sources explained for G4Media.ro.
  5. New French ambassador to Romania meets with foreign affairs minister: Laurence Auer, the new French ambassador to Romania, met with foreign affairs minister Bogdan Aurescu on Monday, October 5, to present copies of the accreditation letters. Auer was previously the director for Culture, Education, Research and Network Coordination at France’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the latest in a series of posts she held in the French diplomatic service.
  6. Bucharest public health body proposes restaurant shut down, ban on private events with more than 50 people: Bucharest Public Health Direction has tabled several recommendations to the Bucharest Committee for Emergency Situations after the growing number Covid-19 infections in the Capital city. The draft recommends the restaurants shut down, ban on private events that gather more than 50 people and ban on the open-air religious processions. DSP explained that recommendations had come after the incidence rate in Bucharest in the past 14 days has been 1.86, so higher than 1.5, as the existing law stipulates to close restaurants. Proposals were sent to the Municipal Committee for Emergency Situations that will take a decision in its meeting on Tuesday, October 6, at 11:00hrs. The head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU), Secretary of State Raed Arafat, declared on Monday, after the meeting of the National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU), that at local level, where the incidence of cases of infection with the novel coronavirus exceeds 1.5 per thousand, additional restrictions will be taken, such as banning weddings and baptisms or suspending the activity of non-compliant economic agents.
  7. Final results for the Bucharest city hall: The Permanent Electoral Authority has announced on Monday the final results of elections for the Bucharest general municipality and for the district city halls, more than one week after the ballot. Nicusor Dan is the Bucharest mayor-elect, with 282,631 votes (42.81%). The results also validate the previously announced district mayors.
  8. PSD takes three major leaders out of business: The leadership of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) has taken tree major party leaders out of business. Marian Oprisan, the former PSD leader in Vrancea and ex-PM Viorica Dancila have been replaced from the helm of their organizations, while Nicolae Badalau has resigned from the position of leader of PSD Giurgiu. Ciolacu will take over the interim leadership of PSD Vrancea branch. Former PM Viorica Dancila has also been dismissed by vote from the helm of the PSD’s organization for women. Interim leader of the Social Democrat women is Doina Feodorovici. Niculae Bădălau has resigned from the position of chief of PSD Giurgiu, after he was appointed vice-president of the Audit Authority within the Court of Accounts. Bădălău’s godson, Marian Mina has taken over the leadership of PSD Giurgiu.
  9. FinMin Citu: Control at Bucharest Municipality found law violations in every investigated aspect: A control conducted since February by the Finance Ministry’s Economic Inspection at the Bucharest City Hall has revealed law violations in every investigated aspect, Finance Minister Florin Citu wrote on Facebook, according to Agerpres. He also informed that the Economic Inspection is currently checking five municipal companies, and that all these entities are in for verification.
  10. Labor Minister wants heads of poorly performing pension offices dismissed: Labor Minister Violeta Alexandru asked the president of the National Pension Office (CNPP) to replace the management of the poorly performing local offices such as those in the counties of Alba, Bihor, Ilfov, Valcea, Neamt, Hunedoara (Petrosani), Giurgiu and Gorj, as well as in all the sectors of Bucharest, according to Agerpres. She also said that Labor Inspection should be disbanded and re-established with a different organizational chart and have new employment interviews for key-positions.
  11. Gov’t to give first reading to debt rescheduling ordinance Thursday: The government on Thursday will give the first reading to an emergency ordinance regarding the rescheduling of debts amassed during the state of emergency, Finance Minister Florin Citu said on Monday. “I know that there were concerns over October 25 and a lot of companies have contacted us and told us that they might have problems with debt payments and then I told you that we will have an emergency ordinance in the first reading on Thursday for the rescheduling of debts that were amassed during the state of emergency, from the beginning of the state of emergency until October 25. The version we are working on says such debts will be deferred for a period of 12 months and their rescheduling will be granted within 5 days, at the latest, based on a request to which a proposal for a new schedule is attached without the need to provide guarantees (…) We continue to support the Romanian companies. We want to make sure that everyone weather well this difficult period,” Citu said in an online statement.
  12. PNL’s Sighiartau says party’s lists of candidates to be validated on October 18: The National Liberal Party (PNL) leadership on October 18 will validate the lists of the party’s candidates in this year’s general elections, PNL Secretary General Robert Sighiartau announced on Monday, according to Agerpres.
  13. The Republic of Moldova and Romania will sign an agreement on the equivalence of study diplomas: The Republic of Moldova and Romania will sign the Agreement on the equivalence of study documents, according to a statement by the Moldovan Minister of Education, Culture and Research, Igor Sharov, quoted by Moldpres and Radio Chisinau.
  14. Change of rules in LLCs: own rules for the transfer of shares, fewer documents for registration: The Companies Law has been amended to simplify several issues related to LLCs, according to a draft adopted by Parliament on Tuesday, by final vote of the Chamber of Deputies. Thus, LLCs will be able to establish through the constitutive act their own rules for the transfer of shares, the transfer would be faster, saving time, and the proof of payment of the minimum share capital, of 200 lei, will no longer be mandatory for registration at the Trade Registry. The project was initiated by USR together with PSD, and in order to come into force it must be promulgated by the head of state.

Impact on the economy

 

  1. Romanian online recruiting platform sees signs of optimism: eJobs, one of the biggest online recruiting platforms in Romania, sees signs of recovery on the local labor market after stronger recruiting activity in September. “After for a long time, we see clear signs of optimism. The fact that in September this year we had more jobs [vacancies] posted than in any of the previous 12 months, including in the months before lockdown, means that things are getting back on track,” said eJobs CEO Bogdan Badea. September came with 31,000 new jobs posted on the eJobs platform, and 1.4 million applications from jobseekers. The number of new jobs was 25% higher than in August.
  2. Romanian developer plans mixed-use complex around artificial lagoon in Bucharest: Romanian developer of Forty Management has bought close to 4 hectares of land in the north-western part of Bucharest (Străulești area) for EUR 8.2 million. It plans to develop the first 100% green mixed-use project in Bucharest around an artificial lagoon occupying roughly half of the land, Profit.ro reported. The total investment is estimated at around EUR 100 mln.
  3. Transgaz sells 25% of strategic pipeline in Moldova to EBRD: The shareholders of Romanian natural gas transport system operator Transgaz approved on Monday, October 5, the transaction with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for a 25% stake in Vestmodltransgaz. EBRD will get this stake following a EUR 20 mln contribution to Vestmodltransgaz’s capital while Transgaz will reduce its stake.
  4. MOL Romania invests 200 mln dollars in Romania, reaches network of 234 gas stations: MOL Romania has invested 200 million dollars in its 25 years of presence on the Romanian market and it has now a network of 234 gas stations, according to a press release of the issued on Tuesday sent to AGERPRES.
  5. New bank loans in March-August down 15% year-on-year: The volume of new loans Romanian banks extended to households and companies since the coronavirus outbreak, namely during March-August, contracted by 4.7% compared to the same period last year, to RON 38.5 billion (EUR 7.9 bln). On the upside, the corporate lending posted its first positive annual performance in August already and is expected to further strengthen with the Government’s support. The steepest contraction was seen in May, when the new loans shrank by one third compared to the same month of 2019, to under EUR 1 bln.
  6. RO households’ consumer expenditures up a mere 1.1% in Q2: Average consumption expenses edged up by only 1.1% to RON 860 (EUR 177) per month per capita, while the taxes and contributions rose by 7.3% year-on-year to RON 550, according to calculations based on the data published by the National Institute of Statistics. The consumption expenditures for food (34% of total) increased by 7.1% year-on-year in Q2, the expenditures for non-food goods (41% of total) rose by 3.1%, and those for services (25% of total) contracted by 8.9%. In the meantime, thanks to the faster rise in households’ income, the households’ saving capacity increased by 33% year-on-year to RON 336 (EUR 69) per capita in each month of the second quarter.
  7. New CEO at Sodexo Romania: Sodexo Romania, leader in extra-salary benefits in Romania, announces the appointment of Manuel Fernandez Amezaga as CEO of the company, starting with November 2020. He will replace Sven Marinus, the leader who coordinated the process of digitalization of the extra-salary benefit vouchers offered by the company in Romania.
  8. Romaero receives order from Raytheon to produce components for Patriot anti-missile shield: The American company Raytheon Missiles & Defense, which produces the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System radar, has placed an order for the production in Romania of some components of the Patriot radar system with the state company Romaero SA, reads a press release sent by Romaero on Tuesday, according to AGERPRES.
  9. DefMin: First 36 PIRANHA V armoured carriers to leave for Craiova’s Red Scorpions: The first 36 PIRANHA V armoured personnel carriers will leave in the coming days for the final beneficiaries, the Red Scorpions of Craiova, after having successfully passed the qualitative reception stage at the Bucharest Mechanical Plant, states the Minister of Defence, Nicolae Ciuca, on his Facebook page, according to Agerpres.
  10. Finance Ministry borrows 500 mln lei from banks on Monday: The Ministry of Public Finance (MFP) borrowed, on Monday, 500 million lei from banks, through a benchmark government bond issue, with a residual maturity of 88 months, at an average yield of 3.34% per year, according to data transmitted by the National Bank of Romania (BNR).
  11. FAIR-MediaSind and CJI launch GlobaLeaks-based culture and mass-media whistleblower platform: The Culture and Media Federation FAIR-MediaSind, in partnership with the Center for Independent Journalism (CJI), announce the launch of the first open source platform dedicated to culture and media whistleblowers, according to Agerpres. The FAIR-MediaSind leadership emphasizes that it has resorted to this solution so that all 8,000 members of the federation feel safe when they report breaches, without fearing reprisals.
  12. Romanian teams among finalists at EU Datahon 2020: Two teams from Romania are among the twelve finalists of this year’s EU Datathon, the EU open data competition.