Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- 13 deaths caused by Coronavirus in Romania. 906 infections overall, 144 new cases reported on Wednesday: The first deaths of those infected with novel Coronavirus have been reported in the past 24 hours on Romania’s territory. 13 people have died so far. They all had serious pre-existing medical conditions. The Strategic Communication Group has announced on Wednesday there are 906 total cases of COVID-19 in Romania, with 144 new ones. Among the total of 906 infected, 86 have been declared cured and were discharged from hospital.
- Suceava County Hospital shuts down following high number of COVID-19 infections: Health Ministry has decided today to shut down Suceava County Hospital, with patients being transferred to other medical units. However, the emergency room, which was functioning with doctors from Iasi and private clinics from Suceava, might re-open within 48 hours, after the disinfection. At least 34 doctors and 49 nurses and orderlies from the Suceava County Hospital are infected with coronavirus, according to the latest information released by authorities on Wednesday. The Health Ministry has also decided that, after disinfection, the Suceava County Hospital should become medical unit to treat coronavirus cases.
Political and regulatory
- Details on the total quarantine in force in Romania: In two different press conferences late on Tuesday, PM Ludovic Orban and then, the Interior minister Marcel Vela detailed on the military ordinance enforcing total quarantine issued on March 24 and announced earlier by President Klaus Iohannis amid growing restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Thus, under this new ordinance, people will be allowed to go out only to do shopping for the basic stuff, to walk the pets, go to the hospital for urgent medical tests and to go to work. Also, going-out is also allowed for such actions as donating blood, for humanitarian or volunteering, for conducting agricultural activities or the movement of agricultural producers for trading agri-food products. The minister underlined that all team sports activities are forbidden, i.e playing football outside. As for the people over 65, who are the most exposed to the novel coronavirus, they are allowed to leave their residences during 11:00hrs and 13:00hrs for shopping, medical assistance, for taking care of a minor and for the pets’ needs. There are exceptions among the elderly, too: those who are still have jobs or those who have agricultural activities. Also, all flights to and from France and Germany from all airports in Romania are suspended as of March 25 at 23:00hrs for 14 days, the Interior minister announced. The shops in the malls which deliver electronics and household goods at home will not be closed, Interior Minister Marcel Vela also announced on Tuesday night.
- 45 tons of medical equipment will be brought in on Thursday from South Korea: The Ministry of National Defence (MApN) requested the Strategic Airlift Capability of NATO, which is operating from the Papa Air Base in Hungary, to conduct an emergency air mission, for the transport of approximately 45 tons of medical equipment from Seoul to Bucharest. According to a release of the MApN, the equipment – 100,000 protection coveralls, were acquired by the Romanian state through the National Office for Centralized Acquisitions, as part of efforts to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Romania.
- FinMin: Banks might delay mortgage payments for 9 months: Finance Minister Florin Cîțu has announced on Facebook that the ministry had agreed with the National Bank of Romania (BNR) and with the banking system to delay the mortgage payments for 9 months. All Romanians, physical or legal persons, will benefit of this measure if they ask for a postponement. The minister said the ordinance might be adopted in the Government sitting on Thursday. All clients who request it will not have bureaucratic issues, said, on Tuesday evening, Florin Citu added. He also announced a budget rectification to be enforced next week in order to secure the money needed for the Health Ministry.
- Romania’s opposition pushes bills to tackle Covid-19 economic impact: Romania’s main opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), has drafted a set of laws that it wants to pass in Parliament possibly at the end of next week. Some of the proposed measures overlap with measures promised by the Government but not yet enforced, partly enforced or that are received with skepticism by entrepreneurs because of bureaucratic details. The next session of the Chamber of Deputies could be summoned at the end of next week to pass the regulations for the online functioning of the Parliament, as well as other five bills drafted by PSD, announced the head of the Social Democrat caucus, Alfred Simonis. He added that several projects have been submitted, including those concerning the repayment of bank loans; the capping of prices of food, medicines and sanitary materials; fiscal facilities for companies and citizens; the deferral of utility bills for three months; the modification of the emergency ordinance (OUG) 29/2020 regarding the technical unemployment and the exemption of the payment of the rent for natural and legal persons.
- IntMin: Defence Ministry to ensure guard of public order assets, staff and means and in BCPs: The Ministry of National Defense will ensure, at the request of the Minister of the Interior, the guard of some assets whose protection is provided by the Gendarmerie, personnel and means for public order and the support of the activities of the Romanian Border Police at the border crossing points (BCPs), Interior Minister Marcel Vela announced on Tuesday, adding to PM Orban’s statements that the Army will be involved in security and patrol missions, but will also support the Border Police. Furthermore, over 27,000 employees of the Interior Ministry (MAI) have carried out patrol missions in the hospitals areas in the last 24 hours, ensuring security at quarantine units, checking on people in isolation, accompanying convoys with citizens being quarantined or in isolation at home, and this represents the most important activity of the last 30 years, MAI Secretary of State, Bogdan Despescu stated. President Klaus Iohannis sent a message with the occasion of Police Day on Wednesday, urging the police staff to be a model of behavior and responsibility and enforce the law firmly, yet with respect for the human dignity.
- PM Orban: Our objective is to increase testing capacity to over 2,000 per day in 5-7 days: The Government’s objective is to increase the testing capacity for COVID-19 to over 2,000 tests per day and even to 2,500 in a period of 5-7 days, said Prime Minister Ludovic Orban. He added that the Government is making every possible effort to purchase the necessary protective equipment to combat the effects of COVID-19, despite difficulties caused by the increased demand on international markets.
- President Iohannis to HealthMin: Provide facilities for doctors to consult remotely: President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday asked the Minister of Health to facilitate for doctors the possibility of giving patients who do not necessarily need to go to the doctor remote consultations, by telephone or other means of communication. He called on hospital managers to take all measures to protect the medical staff, including priority testing for medical personnel.
- PMP Senator calls for VAT reduction for carriers and courier companies: Senator Cătălin Lucian Iliescu (PMP) on Wednesday asked the Government to reduce VAT and profit tax over the next 3 months for carriers and courier companies.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces conclusion of Romanian-Hungarian agreement: According to the agreement, people who commute daily between Romania and Hungary can cross the border, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed.
Impact on the economy
- Enel Romania donates EUR 100,000 to Matei Bals Hospital in Bucharest: Enel Romania has joined the efforts of the medical teams, in order to support their fight against COVID-19 and their struggle to heal the patients infected. Therefore, Enel Romania, through its supply and electricity distribution companies, is donating 100,000 euros to support the activity of Institutul Național de Boli Infecțioase – Prof. Dr. Matei Balş in Bucharest.
- Romanian airline Tarom suspends all domestic flights for two weeks: Romanian state-owned airline Tarom has decided to suspend all domestic flights for at least 14 days starting March 25, 12:00. At the same time, the air carrier will also suspend all flights to and from France and Germany beginning Thursday, March 26. Wizz Air, the biggest airline in Romania by number of passengers transported, also announced that it would suspend all operations from its local bases in Timisoara, Craiova and Sibiu, from March 25 until May 1.
- Former owner of Eurolines Group makes available 100 cars to Romanian doctors: Romanian businessman Dragos Anastasiu, a former doctor himself, will make available to doctors part of his car rental agency’s fleet, free of charge, in order to help them cope with the heavy duties during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Large Romanian chemical group starts producing ready-to-use biocide: Romanian chemical group Chimcomplex, owned by local businessman Stefan Vuza, has received the official certification to produce and sell sodium hypochlorite in concentration of 1.25% to be used as ready-to-use biocide, the company announced in a press release.
- MEC launches digital platform to support teaching staff: The Research and Education Ministry (MEC) has launched the Digital platform on educred.ro (digital.educred.ro), a space created for all the teaching staff who want to capitalize on the new technologies in the teaching activities with the pupils.
- Romanian IT companies keep recruiting despite Covid-19 outbreak: DB Global Technology, German group Deutsche Bank’s technology center in Bucharest, announced that it is expanding its team of experts with another 100 positions and the recruitment process is open. Local IT companies are no less keen to expand their operations and teams.
- Largest mall owner in Romania hopes its revenues won’t plunge amid Covid-19 shutdown: NEPI Rockcastle, the biggest mall owner in Romania by number of properties and the value of its portfolio, announced in a press release that large international and national retailers occupy 67% of the lettable area owned by the company, which reduces the risk of non-payment of the rent.
- Euro drops to RON 4.83, while the National Bank exchange rate for online transactions with or without card jumped to RON 5/euro
- National Labor Union Bloc (BNS) claims that employees informed them that some labor contracts have been suspended without technical unemployment. BNS urges the Government to deny access to support measures to employers that fired their employees throughout the emergency state of the nation.