Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Tuesday afternoon update: 762 cases of Coronavirus confirmed in Romania:  186 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Romania by Tuesday at 13:00, with the toll mounting to 762. Of this total, 79 persons have been declared cured and have been discharged from hospitals.
  • Coronavirus death toll in Romania reaches 8: The eighth death caused by the coronavirus was recorded on Tuesday morning in Romania, the Strategic Communication Group (GCS) informs. In terms of capacities, the Strategic Communication Group has announced that there are 2,653 hospital beds in the intensive care units in Romania at this point, as well as 1,361 respirators.
  • 7 doctors and 23 nurses from the largest emergency hospital in Bucharest, isolated after a patient was confirmed with coronavirus: 7 doctors, 23 nurses, plus auxiliary staff from Floreasca Hospital, the largest emergency hospital in Bucharest, are isolated at home after a patient who appeared at the hospital’s ER was confirmed with coronavirus infection and subsequently transferred to the Victor Babeș Infectious Diseases Hospital.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Romanian PM out of isolation after second Covid-19 test turns out negative: Romanian prime minister Ludovic Orban will return to working at Victoria Palace, the HQ of the Romanian Government, after a second Covid-19 test he undertook came back negative. Orban entered isolation on March 13 after having contact with senator Vergil Chițac, who tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. Orban remained in isolation at Lac 1 Villa. The other Government members who had been in isolation also tested negative and they will return to their regular work schedules.
  • President Iohannis – meeting with prime minister, Interior minister and Health minister on COVID-19: President Klaus Iohannis will hold a meeting to evaluate and present the measures regarding the management of the COVID-19 epidemic at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, with Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, Interior Minister Marcel Vela, and the Minister of Health, Victor Costache, informs the Presidential Administration. At the end of the meeting, President Iohannis will make a press statement at 13:15. Also, from 14:00 hrs, the president will attend a video conference with the hospital managers, with the Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, the Interior Minister, Marcel Vela, the Minister of Health, Victor Costache, the Minister of National Defense, Nicolae Ciuca, and with the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications, Lucian Bode. (We’ll provide an update)
  • PSD sends to Senate proposals regarding suspension of credit payments and capping prices for food: The interim chair of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Marcel Ciolacu, stated on Monday evening, at public broadcaster TVR1, that Tuesday in the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies the proposals for “suspension of credit payments” and the “capping of prices for drugs and food” will be discussed, in order to be sent to the Senate, as the first notified chamber.
  • EconMin Popescu: Should this crisis last one or two months, deficit could hit 5 percent: The budgetary deficit of Romania will hit almost 5 percent should this coronavirus pandemic crisis last one or two months, but should it last more it is already hard to tell where we could get, Economy Minister Virgil Popescu told private TV broadcaster Digi24 on Monday night.
  • Authorized natural persons who interrupted their activity – allowance equal to gross minimum salary: The authorized natural persons who have interrupted their activity during the state of emergency will benefit from a fixed allowance at the level of a gross minimum salary, said on Monday the head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery, Ionel Danca, who stated that on Tuesday a new working meeting of the Government-created Group will be held to find solutions for the other categories of persons, employees, companies, which are affected by the coronavirus pandemic during this period. He also said that the Government is considering distinct measures for dental offices, given that they were forced to discontinue their activity as a result of the application of military orders to limit the spread of coronavirus and that solutions are also being sought for large companies, mentioning the automotive sector. Danca also revealed that the budgetary allotment for the technical unemployment is around RON 4 billion, covering for 1 million employees.
  • DefMin Ciuca: Respect authorities’ advice and stay home: Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca calls on Romanians, on his Facebook page, to respect the pieces of advice of the authorities and to stay home. The Minister maintains that the Army is involved in the fight against the pandemic.”I assure you that the military are and will be fully involved in what the country’s defense entails, in the fight with an unseen enemy that has no military camp, doctrine or strategy of attack. Coronavirus is the global enemy of all states, whether they are countries from Asia, from the East or from the West defended by NATO,” says Ciuca. On Monday, the Ministry of Defense announced that it has started the necessary measures to supplement the number of positions in the medical-military system inview of employing staff as quickly as possible, Two Romanian military aircraft will bring medical protection equipment from Germany and Turkey, MApN informed on Monday, upon briefing that the ROL 2 hospital will shortly become operational.  The ROL 2 mobile military hospital deployed in Buchaest will have 132 beds for patients with mild and medium forms of COVID-19 and other 26 beds of intensive care.
  • ForMin Aurescu at informal meeting of EU foreign ministers; COVID-19, Syria crisis, on agenda:Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu attended, through a videoconference system, on Monday, the informal meeting of foreign ministers from the European Union member states, which had as main topic on the agenda the COVID-19 pandemic. He evoked the challenges of the last period regarding the transit of goods and the return to the country of the Romanian citizens, as well as the steps for identifying practical solutions to the difficulties mentioned. Aurescu pleaded for closer coordination among member states’ embassies and EU Delegations in these states, with the support of the European External Action Service, to facilitate the repatriation of European citizens from third countries to the EU.
  • EC to put an end to the lines of trucks formed at the border due to the fight against covid-19: The Commission published recommendations on Monday to unblock the main roads in the EU and to avoid delays in the delivery of products and shortages by establishing “green axes”. “Crossing a boundary on a reserved route should take no more than 15 minutes,” said Ursula von der Leyen in a video message posted on Twitter, accusing “queues of 40 kilometers over the weekend” formed “at certain border points” and “the waiting time of was up to 18 hours”. The Commission published recommendations on Monday to unblock the main roads in the EU and to avoid delays in the delivery of products and to avoid shortages by establishing “green axes”. Romania has already established such routes.
  • Victor Negrescu asks EU authorities to create European database with people who are quarantined and isolated at home: Social-Democratic MEP Victor Negrescu called on the European Commission to intervene swiftly to reduce the risk of contamination of healthcare professionals, through active protection measures for medical staff and the creation of a common database at European level.
  • Popescu: Romarm will produce sanitary equipment, masks, protection suits: State-held defense company Romarm has received approval for the production of sanitary equipment, masks and protection suits, ensuring Romania’s strategic production, Economy Minister Virgil Popescu said Monday evening.
  • Florin Cîțu: The support package for bank installments and business loans, functional this week:The measures regarding bank installments, loans for SMEs and large companies will be functional this week, according to the Minister of Finance, Florin Cîţu. “This week I believe we will have everything working for bank installments, for SMEs, as well as for big companies. For technical unemployment, the ordinance was already passed and the Ministry of Labor has to implement it,” Florin Cîţu stated on Monday evening, on B1TV.

 

Impact on the economy

  • RO mineral water producer pours EUR 20 mln to increase capacity due to high demand: Valvis Holding, the group that owns the mineral water brand AQUA Carpatica, has seen a 250-300% increase in sales in recent weeks, the group’s founder and president Jean Valvis, said. He says the company has taken all measures to protect its employees and, despite the fact that the companies in the food industry are already accustomed to high hygiene rules, it has stepped up controls and hygiene and employee protection rules to ensure production continuity.
  • More large Romanian manufacturers halt production amid Covid-19 restrictions: German car parts producer Dräxlmaier, which employs 15,000 at its local factories, and gearbox producer Star Assembly, the biggest car parts manufacturer in Romania by turnover, have all announced that they would suspend operations. Moreover, many non-food retailers in Romania have decided to discontinue operations in their physical outlets and move online, where possible. Danish furniture and home decor retailer JYSK, German footwear retailer Deichmann, French sports retailer Decathlon, and French DIY retailer Leroy Merlin are among those who announced on March 23 that their physical stores will be closed in the following weeks.
  • Interest rates drop in RO after central bank’s surprise move: The short-term interest rates on the money market (ROBOR) went down significantly on Monday, March 23, thus opening the door for cheaper financing for both households, companies and Government, after Romania’s National Bank (BNR) cut the refinancing rate by 0.5pp last Friday furthermore lowering the Lombard rate by one full percentage point and promising adequate liquidity. Meanwhile, the local currency remained constant against the euro, quoted at RON 4.84 to EUR – but not without BNR’s intervention.
  • Rompetrol-KMG International donates fuel for medical transport, sponsors purchase of 2,500 kits for COVID-19: Rompetrol – KMG International is donating fuel for the emergency medical transport, funding the research and purchase of equipment, testing kits and necessary materials for the medical units in the communities where the company carries out its activity.
  • The Romanian bureau of circulation audit (BRAT) asks for the authorities support the legitimate printed press and online press news editors in the context of the state of emergency imposed to fight the spread of the coronavirus through tax exemptions or postponements. They claim that advertising revenues dropped by over 50%, revenues from distribution at news stands by 90%, among others. BRAT also points out that online represents the main news source (for 70-75% of the population) and traffic values increased exponentially.
  • AmCham Romania: ‘We encourage our companies to protect the employees’: Unforeseen measures related to the costs of virus prevention and control will have a significant budgetary impact, AmCham Romania said in a statement.