Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Thursday afternoon update: 1,029 cases of Coronavirus confirmed in Romania: 123 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Romania by Thursday at 13:00, with the toll mounting to 1,029. Of this total, 94 persons have been declared cured and have been discharged from hospitals. 45 tons of medical equipment from South Korea arrived in Romania this morning with a NATO aircraft. The 100,000 protection suits, purchased by Romania, through the National Office of Centralized Procurement and the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, will be allocated according to needs, to the medical personnel from the Ministry of Health and the operational crews of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Romania novel coronavirus death toll reaches 17: Three more dead, one man, two women added to the novel coronavirus infected people who have passed away, thus raising the death toll to 17, the Strategic Communication Group (GCS) informed Wednesday night.
- Nelu Tătaru: 170 medical staff and patients from Suceava County Hospital have coronavirus: About 170 medical staff and patients from Suceava County Hospital are confirmed with coronavirus, said Secretary of State Nelu Tătaru, who is also the proposed Minister of Health.
Political and regulatory
- Health minister resigns: Romania’s health minister Victor Costache resigned on Thursday morning, March 26, prime minister Ludovic Orban announced in a press statement. The resignation comes in the middle of the biggest medical crisis Romania has faced in recent history, caused by the new coronavirus pandemic. According to sources quoted by the local media, Orban himself asked Victor Costache to resign. PM Orban said his proposal for the health minister seat is Nelu Tataru, a state secretary within the Health Ministry, who “has been in the front line in the fight against the new coronavirus” and is familiar with the strategy. Health minister Victor Costache has been strongly criticized after he said on Wednesday evening, in an interview with the biggest TV station in Romania, that all of Bucharest’s population would be tested for Covid-19. This would require 2 to 4 million tests while Romania’s current test processing capacity is under 2,000 per day. Mass testing was abandoned after PM Orban stated on Thursday in response, that for the moment, the rules established by the National Institute of Public Health will be maintained. Thus, testing will be carried out for all patients admitted to hospitals who have symptoms of acute respiratory infections and the medical personnel coming into contact with confirmed coronavirus cases. Nelu Tătaru, 47, Ludovic Orban’s proposal for the position of Minister of Health, is a surgeon at the Hospital in Huși (Vaslui County), which he led for a period as manager, and leader of PNL Vaslui. Nelu Tataru was appointed Secretary of State in the Ministry of Health last December, when he became the main communicator and the most visible official of this institution.
- Govt. to re-distribute funds for health system under budget revision: The Romanian authorities are preparing a budget revision that could be approved by the Government next week, finance minister Florin Citu announced Wednesday, March 25. As many as possible resources will be directed to the Ministry of Health, he said. President Klaus Iohannis confirmed the budget revision in a press statement on March 25. More money will be earmarked for the public health system and for helping those who can’t work during this period, president Iohannis confirmed.
- FinMin assures all bank debtors will get nine-month grace period: All Romanian bank debtors, individuals or companies, will be able to defer the payment of their installments by up to nine months upon a simple phone call, finance minister Florin Citu assured on Wednesday, March 25. The phone call should be followed by an email, he added. An emergency ordinance (OUG) on this topic will be passed by the Government on March 26. However, the recommendation made by BNR to banks about still monitoring the debts that become problematic for reasons other than the economic effects of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, indicate that the rescheduling process might be slightly more complex than just a phone call.
- PSD’s Ciolacu:All PSD MPs to donate 50pct of their entitlements for the purchase of medical equipment: Interim Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marcel Ciolacu has stated on Wednesday that all the Social-Democrat MPs decided to donate 50 percent of their entitlements in order to support the urgent acquisition of medical equipment of maximum necessity.
- Iohannis to attend Thursday videoconference with European Council members on COVID-19: President Klaus Iohannis will attend a videoconference on Thursday with the members of the European Council on measures to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the agenda of the head of state, the videoconference will take place at 5 pm.
Impact on the economy
- Over 0.5 mln Romanians have their labour contracts suspended amid Covid-19 crisis: A number of 512,188 Romanians employees – or nearly one tenth of the country’s total employees, had their labour contracts suspended as of March 25, Wall-Street.ro reported quoting official data from the labour inspectorate. The number rose from 214.603 as of March 16 – when the state of emergency was declared in the country.
- Private pension funds allowed to invest more in public debt: Romania’s financial markets’ regulator (ASF) has decided to allow the managers of private pension funds to invest more of their assets in government securities issued by the Romanian Ministry of Finance or by EU or European Economic Area Member States, announced the ASF vice-president in charge of the private pensions system, Dan Armeanu, quoted by Agerpres.
- Competition body says food prices have increased only “moderately”: On average, the prices of food products in Romania have increased only moderately over the past couple of weeks since the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the head of Romania’s Competition Council, Bogdan Chiritoiu, commented. The prices of some goods increased by only 1%-2%, those of other goods by 10%-20% – but there is no general visible upward trend, Chiritoiu said. The highest prices are seen in the area of imported goods, where the cost of transport has been increasing across Europe. There is no increase that would justify the state’s intervention at this moment, he added. “We continue to carefully monitor the market and where we have suspicions of agreements between companies, there we will intervene,” said Chiriţoiu, quoted by Economica.net.
- Only 9% of Romania’s entrepreneurs find Govt.’s first aid package helpful: Only 9% of the respondents in a survey carried by the association of Romanian small and medium sized enterprises (CNIPMMR) have declared that the economic measures adopted by the Government help them greatly. Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the National Institute of Statistics, shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) expect 50pct reduction in activity or even closure.
- The National Fiscal Administration Agency (ANAF) is carrying out a campaign to contact companies to support voluntary compliance and rapid VAT reimbursement, the agency announced today. Thus, according to ANAF, in order to increase the voluntary compliance, the specialists of the agency carried out a campaign among the significant taxpayers, who were asked about the fiscal problems they are facing during this period. While ANAF inspectors informed companies that deferring payment of taxes is not sanctioned during this period, as a result of the measures taken by the Government to support the business environment, it also appealed to their solidarity and civic spirit to pay their taxes because the system cannot function without taxes.
- Saint-Gobain reduced the production of windscreens in Calarasi after the closure of Dacia and Ford in the context of the coronavirus pandemic
- Real estate and tourism entrepreneur Mohammad Murad announces that he will keep at least 90% of employees and open two social assistance centers in Constanta and Mangalia for those with incomes below RON 1,200