Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • 2nd day with over 4,000 cases in Romania: In the last 24 hours there were 4,013 new cases of COVID-19 infections in Romania. 73 patients infected with the novel coronavirus have died in the past 24 hours, and 721 patients are in intensive care, a new record. The coefficient of infections cumulated at 14 days, reported per 1,000 inhabitants, is still being calculated and will be communicated later on, according to the Strategic Communication Group. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (777), Cluj (227), Iasi (200), Timis (175), Bacau (150), Prahova (137), Brasov (130), Sibiu (129), Alba (126), Mures (123), Suceava (116), Galati (114) and Ilfov (101). To date, 2,770,481 tests have been processed at the national level, of which 29,646 were performed in the last 24 hours.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • State of alert extended by 30 more days. Face mask might become mandatory outdoors in Bucharest if the incidence of COVID-19 cases gets over 3 per 1,000: The Government has Okayed the extension of the state of alert by 30 more days, as of tomorrow, October 15, the Head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU), Raed Arafat announced, also adding that that dace masks might become mandatory in all open spaces in localities where the incidence of COVID cases exceeds 3 per one thousand residents.
  • General election can be delayed till March, CCR reasoning: The Romanian Constitutional Court (CCR) has released on Wednesday the reasoning of its ruling that said the law allowing Parliament to set the date of general election is constitutional. According to the CCR reasoning, elections due in December this year can be delayed for 3 months until March if the Parliament decides so. At the same time, CCR says that once the law comes into force (after promulgation) the government resolution through which the Executive establishes the date of election of December 6 ceases to have effect.
  • PM asks for measures to prevent hospital crowding by people who don’t need inpatient care: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban asked on Wednesday the Health Ministry to increase the coronavirus testing capacity and the response capacity of the Public Health Directorates, calling also again for family doctors to be involved in the assessment of the persons who do not need inpatient care. He also spoke about creating intermediary areas for patients who need mechanical ventilation, but do not need intensive care. The Prime Minister also mentioned the possibility of partnerships with private companies in order to increase the testing capacity, as well as the Public Health Directorates’ response capacity. The Health Ministry has asked all hospitals in Bucharest to establish the required procedures to be able to treat Covid-19 patients after the city recorded a record of 669 daily cases on October 14, Adevarul reported. The Marius Nasta, Victor Babeș and Matei Balș hospitals in Bucharest will treat only medium and severe forms of COVID-19 and these hospitals will have night shifts on radiology. The measure could take effect next week.
  • PM Orban to pay official visit to France in late October, scheduled to visit Israel: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced on Thursday that he has scheduled an official visit to France at the end of October, together with several ministers, while a visit to Israel is scheduled for early November, according to AGERPRES. “I am scheduled to pay an official visit to France at the end of October. We have several points in discussion during the official visit, with the main point being signing a roadmap for the strategic partnership between France and Romania. We also address a number of other concrete issues. I will most likely be accompanied by the foreign minister, the economy minister, the agriculture minister, the defence minister, as there are also issues related to military co-operation, and I will also have an official visit to Israel in early November. There was also the possibility of me visiting the United States on an official visit,” Orban told RoInvest conference.
  • Orban said he would pay a visit to Germany in late November, but no schedule has been officially agreed upon.
  • Education Ministry: 789 schools holding online-only classes, 5,234 apply rotating attendance schedule: A number of 789 educational units are currently operating under the 3rd, online-only learning scenario, and 5,234 work according to the 2nd, mixed scenario, the Ministry of Education and Research informed on Wednesday.
  • European Commissioner Johannes Hahn to pay visit to Bucharest: European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn is going to pay a visit to Bucharest, on Thursday, according to AGERPRES. In this context, the European official will have a meeting with Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, at 11.00 am, at the Victoria Palace, to be followed by a press conference.
  • President Iohannis to attend European Council meeting in Brussels, Oct. 15-16: President Klaus Iohannis will be attending a European Council meeting in Brussels October 15-16, according to AGERPRES. The summit’s agenda includes the COVID-19 pandemic, future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the fight against climate change. At the same time, the European leaders will look into the external relations of the European Union.
  • COVID-19 test results of PSD’s Marcel Ciolacu, Paul Stanescu – negative: According to some Social Democratic sources, the PSD leader, Marcel Ciolacu, and the general secretary of this party, Paul Stanescu, on Wednesday evening received the results of their tests and they are negative, thus exiting self-isolation.
  • AgriMin Oros: Friday, Agriculture Ministry starts advance payments for direct payments schemes: The Ministry of Agriculture will start, on Friday, advance payments both for the direct payment schemes, as well as for the rural development measures, Agriculture Minister Adrian announced.
  • INSP: Updated list of yellow zone countries; 32 states for which self-quarantine is imposed: The measure of quarantine remains in force for people coming from countries such as Spain, Israel, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, the USA, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom or the Republic of Moldova. The new list enters into force on Thursday, at midnight.
  • Competition Council’s head: Sanctioned companies to be allowed to participate in tenders, if plead guilty, take measures: Companies sanctioned for rigging public tenders can get rid of the ban on participating in such procedures for three years if they plead guilty, cooperate with the competition authority and take measures to stop violating the law in the future, Bogdan Chiritoiu, head of the Competition Council (CC) said on Wednesday. He participated in the online conference “Pria Competition in Constructions.”
  • Competition official Lungu says authorities no bogeyman out to get e-commerce: The trade competition authority has allocated more resources to monitor online commerce, but it must be understood that the competition authorities are no bogeyman out to penalize the market, head of the Consumer Goods Department within the Competition Council Sorin Lungu told the first edition of the National E-commerce Day event on Thursday, according to AGERPRES. At the end of the event, ARMO will present its Digitalization Ambassadors awards to people in public positions who, through their actions undertaken this year have contributed to the development of the digital economy in Romania.
  • Chamber passes amendments to pay law to increase pay to civil servants: On Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that provides, among other things, for an increase in the pay to civil servants and contract staff employed by Presidential Administration, the General Secretariat of the Government, and Parliament’s services, of 15%.
  • Presidential adviser Paun: Digitalisation is the future of medicine: Digitalisation is the future in medicine, and that means saving time and effort, presidential adviser Diana Paun said on Wednesday. She said that Romania, without having the economic means of other countries, has proved during the recent COVID-19 lockdown to be one of the countries “with institutional capacity to manage COVID19-related risks.”
  • Deputies reject GEO on modification of law regarding measures to protect national interest in economy: The Chamber of Deputies’ plenary sitting on Wednesday approved the draft law on the rejection of the Government Emergency Ordinance no.166/2020 that modifies Law no.173/2020 on some measures meant to protect national interests in the economy.
  • Clotilde Armand was validated as mayor of Bucharest District 1 by court ruling: The District 1 court ruled that the new mayor of Bucharest’s District 1 is Clotilde Armand. The result of the election was contested by the incumbent mayor, Dan Tudorache, after images appeared in the public space which suggested a theory of electoral fraud.
  • TransMin Bode says 700kms of motorways, 300kms of expressways likely to be completed by 2024: Romania could have 700 kilometers of new motorways and 300 kilometers of expressways in the next four years, given the sections being worked on and those for which a start work order will be issued soon, Transport Minister Lucian Bode told RoInvest virtual conference on Thursday, according to AGERPRES. He was asked how many kilometers of motorways will be completed in the next four years.

Impact on the economy

  • INS: Turnover in trade of motor vehicles and motorcycles down 12.2pct Jan-Aug: The turnover in the trade of motor vehicles and motorcycles decreased, between January 1 and August 31, 2020, compared to the similar period of 2019, both as gross series, by 12.2pct, and as a series adjusted depending on the number of business days and seasonality, by 11.7pct, according to the data published on Thursday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS), as reported by AGERPRES.
  • Agricultural services add 2pct to Romania’s agricultural production value nationwide in 2019: Agricultural services added 2 per cent to the value of Romania’s agriculture production nationwide in 2019, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) reported on Thursday, according to AGERPRES.
  • RO wants six more months to distribute EUR 1 bln worth of grants to SMEs: Romania wants to extend by six months the period for disbursing the EUR 1 bln grants to micro, small and medium enterprises, financed from EU funds. Romania will thus apply for the facility extended by the European Commission that allows member countries to delay by six months all the programmes under the Temporary Framework and by another three months those programmes aimed at capitalizing the recipients, Startupcafe.ro reported.
  • Russian ride-hailing service leaves Romanian market: Russian ride-hailing application Yango owned by the Russian company Yandex announced on October 14 that it would withdraw from Romania within a month, after operating less than one year and a half on the local market, Economica.net reported. The company’s representatives cited “rigid legislation in the field of ride-hailing,” not allowing it to develop the service as efficiently as they would like.
  • Romania’s gross external debt rises by EUR 6.33 bln in Jan-Aug: Romania’s gross external debt (GED) increased by EUR 6.33 billion in January-August 2020, to EUR 116.1 bln, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR). The increase, driven by the Government’s Eurobonds, was toned down by the decrease in the short term external debt – the evaporation of deposits held in local banks by non-residents (typically parent financial groups). The current account of the balance of payments registered a deficit of 5.789 billion euros, in the first eight months of 2020, down by 18.45% compared to that of the similar period in 2019, of 7.099 billion euros.
  • FDI inflows to Romania down 68% in Jan-Aug: The direct investments of non-residents in Romania amounted to EUR 1.40 billion in January-August, a third of the level reached in the same period of last year – EUR 4.40 bln, according to the National Bank of Romania (BNR).
  • BCR: Romania’s economy operates at 68% of pre-crisis potential: The pace of economic recovery in Romania has slowed in recent months, analysts of Romanian lender BCR said. In September, the economic activity stood at 68% of the average in a normal pre-pandemic month, a slight improvement from 63% in August. In April, at the climax of the health and economic crisis, the economy operated at only 27% of its capacity. BCR’s analysts point out that they expect core inflation to remain high for longer, in the context of a persistent adverse supply-side shock and aggregate demand that has recovered faster than expected.
  • CEE’s digital economy grew twice as fast during COVID-19 lockdown as it did in 2017–2019, with Romania a strong contributor, report says: During the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital economy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) grew almost twice as fast as it did in the prior two years, according to McKinsey’s latest report, Digital Challengers in the next normal. Central and Eastern Europe on a path to digitally-led growth. Romania experienced a slightly smaller boost during the same interval. McKinsey estimates that between January and May 2020 the digital economy in CEE grew at more than 14% and captured 78%, or EUR 5.3 billion, of the increase seen in the whole of 2019.
  • Dacia to present its first electric car on Thursday: Dacia is expected on Thursday, October 15 to introduce the Spring electric model, seven months after releasing photos with the concept.
  • Tax expert Daianu calls European recovery plan gold to Romanian economy: The European recovery plan, which is added to the European Union budget, is as gold to Romania’s economy, says Chairman of the Tax Council Daniel Daianu. The chief tax officer mentioned that the EU budget and the Recovery Plan would mean to Romania investment resources of over 4% annually, in addition to agricultural subsidies. With its own national budget, Romania could exceed 6-7% of the GDP of public investments, to which private investments would be added.
  • Posta Romana adds Paris to its road route for deliveries: Posta Romana (the Romania Post) has announced having added Paris this month to the map of its European road network for deliveries, according to AGERPRES. According to a press statement of the national postal operator, Posta Romana is now making direct deliveries to the French capital in its own cars.
  • Clients of Romanian lender BCR can access its units by appointment only: Romanian lender BCR will allow the access of clients to its units only based on appointment, an additional measure to protect the employees’ and clients’ health, and reduce waiting times, it said. The measures builds on the bank’s project of phone appointments piloted over the past months in 12 branches in the country. It applies starting October 19. The decision is a temporary one and was driven by the nation-wide increase in Covid-19 cases and the upcoming cold season, as there are instances when queues form in front of the banking units.
  • Dragos Anastasiu has been re-elected head of the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Dragos Anastasiu has been re-elected President of the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK Romania), and the new Vice-Presidents are Andreas Lier and Christian von Albrichsfeld, according to AGERPRES. Along with Dragos Anastasiu (Touring Europa Bus), President, Andreas Lier (BASF) and Christian von Albrichsfeld (Continental Automotive Romania), Vice-Presidents, and Sebastian Metz, General Manager, Claudia Hesselmann (Arensia Exploratory Medicine), Gunter Krasser (Infineon Technologies Romania) ), Simona Melnic (MedicHub Media), Florin Sabou (Sialtpro), Michael Beier (CLAAS Regional Center South East Europe), Peter Zeilinger (OMV Petrom), Daniel Gross (REWE Romania), Iuliu Cadar (DRM Draxlmaier Romania Sisteme Electrice) and Marco Alpert (Wiebe Romania), as members, make up the current Board of Directors of AHK Romania. Mihai Boldijar (Robert Bosch), Wargha Enayati (Intermedicas), Roland Ruffing (Metro Cash & Carry Romania) and Titus Low (Siemens) left the Board, as their term in office expired.
  • Biggest 100 companies in Romania generate a quarter of the country’s business: The biggest 100 companies in Romania generated a total turnover of RON 439 billion (EUR 92.5 billion) in 2019, up by 6.8% compared to 2018, Romania-Insider.com has calculated based on data received from the Trade Registry Office (ONRC). Carmaker Dacia remained the biggest company in Romania by turnover in 2019, followed by three companies in the oil sector – OMV Petrom, OMV Petrom Marketing, and Rompetrol Rafinare -, and retailer Kaufland. German retailer Lidl recorded the highest growth rate in top 10 after its business increased by 25% in 2019. Do-it-yourself retailer Dedeman entered the top 10 for the first time, becoming the first company controlled by Romanian private investors that reaches such a high position in the ranking. The full list with the biggest 100 companies in Romania is available here.
  • Polish entrepreneurs launch the first accelerator to invest in independent gaming studios in Romania: Polish publisher of video games Movie Games together with investment and capital markets advisory firm INC launch in Romania Mill Games – first accelerator for independent game development studios. Romanian entrepreneurs from the gaming industry will have access to up to 1 million dollars in funding for each game, but also to know-how, international resources and operational support for launching games in desktop and mobile versions on global markets. In the first two years, Mill Games will invest in at least 10 Romanian independent studios.
  • Office building portfolio to be showcased through the digital platform: Bright Spaces signed a partnership with One United Properties, which thus becomes the first developer that will be able to present its entire office building portfolio through the platform developed by the PropTech startup. Once the digital solution is implemented, in December 2020, potential clients and partners will be able to visualize and interact with the office spaces owned by the developer in Bucharest.
  • Virtual Economist event, October 22nd 2020: Against this backdrop, The Economist Events in partnership with Oxygen announces the conference “Europe’s landscape in the shadow of the pandemic; Romania: Transformation – Recovery – Resilience”, scheduled to take place on October 22nd, 2020 – 11:00 EEST (10:00 CET). The list of speakers include: Wolfgang Schüssel, former federal chancellor, president, Foreign Policy and United Nations Association, Austria; Virgil-Daniel Popescu, minister of economy, energy and the business environment of Romania; John Bruton, former prime minister, Ireland; Simone Mori, head of Europe and executive vice – president, Enel Group; Charlotte Ruhe, managing director, central and south eastern Europe, EBRD; Luca Lazzaroli, director general, deputy head of operations, European Investment Bank; Colin Ellis, chief credit officer, EMEA, Moody’s Investors Service; Michail Bletsas, director of computing, MIT Media Lab, USA; Violeta Luca, CEO, Microsoft, Romania; Dirk Hendricks, secretary general, European Renewable Energies Federation; Radoslaw Kedzia, VP CEE & Nordic Region, Huawei; Aris Dimarakis, chief technology officer, Betano.