Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Number of COVID-19 new cases dips below 1,000 for the first time almost two weeks: Romania registered 823 new cases of SARS – CoV – 2 infections in the last 12 hours, marking a decreasing trend at the beginning of the week, according to the latest official report released on Monday at 13:00. Furthermore the number of deaths also decreased to 19, yet the number of patients in intensive care units reached to a record of 419. As many as 7,660 people with COVID-19 are admitted to healthcare facilities. To date, 1,248,318 tests have been processed at the national level. Of these, 8,045 were performed in the last 24 hours. By county, most new infections in the last 24 hours are registered in Bucharest (120) and Arges (96), while overall, in three days/72h (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), most new cases were in: Bucharest (321), Arges (288), Prahova (194), Brasov (163), Galati (152) and Dambovita (150). The general trend was decreasing, from 1,225 total new cases on Saturday, to 1,075 on Sunday and 823 on Monday.
- Raed Arafat reacts after the resignation of DSP Bucharest epidemiologists: Four epidemiologists resigned from DSP Bucharest (Bucharest Public Health Department), due to the excessive work volume, announced, on Friday evening, at Digi 24, the deputy director of the institution, Florentina Iacobi. The head of Department of Emergency Situations (DSU), Raed Arafat, stated that the resignations are questionable, given the situation of the ongoing health crisis. “It’s like the soldier who tells you during the war, ‘It’s too hard for me in the war, I’m leaving,'” Arafat said. Meanwhile, on Friday, the last day of July, Secretary of State Raed Arafat signed the Order by which doctors and nurses from hospitals in Bucharest can be (forcefully) detached/assigned, for a period of 30 days, starting with August 1, to COVID hospitals.
- Head of RO emergency department urges people to get influenza vaccine to prevent COVID-flu phenomenon: Raed Arafat, the head of Romania’s Emergency Situations Department (DSU), has urged people to get the influenza vaccine to prevent the risk of getting both coronavirus and flu.
- Another TVR employee tested positive for the new coronavirus: A second person from Public Television was tested positive for COVID-19, the institution announced in a press release. The TVR management ordered the increase of the measures in such cases: disinfections both in the spaces where the person was and in several rooms and the additional provision of some protection materials.
- Belgium includes Romania on COVID-19 red list: The Belgian authorities have introduced regions of Romania to the Red zone, so people coming from these areas must enter into self-isolation and take a PCR test for the detection of the novel coronavirus, carried out by the authorities in this country, informs a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE).
- Ana Aslan ROL 2 hospital, reopened for Covid-19 patients, after facelift works: The ROL 2 hospital, erected by the National Defence Ministry (MApN) in the courtyard of the Ana Aslan Institute of Bucharest was reopened on Sunday, to admit patients in the context of coronavirus pandemic. Another intensive care unit to open on August 3 is the Elias 1 Modular Hospital built by Dăruieşte viaţă NGO in the courtyard of the Elias Hospital in Bucharest. It was funded from the donations made by more than 250,000 people and 650 companies.
Political and regulatory
- RO authorities limit the program of bars and clubs in Bucharest and at the seaside: Romania’s National Council for Emergency Situations (CNSU) decided on Saturday (August 1) to limit the program of bars, clubs and outdoor restaurants in Bucharest and six other counties. The measure includes Constanta county, where the most seaside resorts are located, and Prahova and Brasov counties, which host the most popular mountain resorts. The bard and clubs in the targeted counties won’t be allowed to open before 6:00 and close after 23:00. The measure is aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Romania recorded over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, for the 12th day in a row. The total number of people infected in the country thus reached over 53,000.
- RO removes Russia from the “yellow list” but keeps restrictions for passengers from the US: Romania’s National Public Health Institute (INSP) has updated the yellow list of “high-risk” COVID-19 countries. Restrictions apply for travelers coming from these countries to Romania, namely a mandatory 14-day self-isolation or quarantine period. The number of countries on this list has dropped to 41, from 44. Russia, Serbia, Azerbaijan and Mexico were removed from the list and the Bahamas was added to it. Among the countries maintained on the yellow list are the United States, Israel and Moldova.
- Center-right parties agree on joint candidates for Bucharest elections: The leaders of the ruling Liberal Party (PNL), Save Romania Union (USR), and PLUS announced, on Saturday, August 1, in a joint press conference, that they will support joint candidates in the local elections in Bucharest both at the central level (Nicusor Dan) and district level. Regarding the distribution of districts among the three center-right parties, USR-PLUS will have candidates for districts 1, 2 and 4, and PNL for 3, 5 and 6. Clotilde Armand (USR) will run for the seat of district mayor in the 1st district, Radu Mihai (USR) will run in the 2nd district, Adrian Moraru (PNL) for the 3rd district, Simona Spătaru (PLUS) for the 4th district, Cristian Băcanu (PNL) for the 5th district, and Ciprian Ciucu (PNL) for the 6th district. Meanwhile, MEP Traian Băsescu stated on Sunday, at Digi24, that he offers to be the PMP candidate for the Bucharest City Hall, after PNL and USR-PLUS finalized the negotiations, and PMP was left out. He commented that he wants to lend a helping hand to the party and a lesson to USR, even though in doing so he might favor the PSD candidate, the incumbent mayor Gabriela Firea. On a separate TV station, PM Ludovic Orban refused to comment on Traian Basescu’s announcement, but took a reconciliatory approach saying that the National Liberal Party (PNL) continues its collaboration with the People’s Movement Party (PMP), adding that he is confident that the Liberal partners in the local elections – the Save Romania Union (USR) and the Freedom, Unity and Solidarity Party (PLUS) – “will understand that for common success we have only one political opponent left, which is the Social Democratic Party (PSD).” The last remark refers to dissensions that exist even between USR-Plus and PNL, the PM claiming that PNL never attacked USR.
- RO Govt approves Kurzarbeit support by end of 2020: Romania’s Government adopted on July 31 a package of measures aimed at supporting flexibility on the labor market, including Kurzarbeit support for companies that need a smaller part of their workforce during the crisis, Agerpres reported. The cost of the package is estimated at RON 2.5 billion (EUR 516 mln).
- Ludovic Orban, about the thousands of unemployed: ‘I give you data taken from REVISAL. The news needs to be better substantiated’: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Sunday evening that, according to data from REVISAL (General Employees Registry), on July 20, compared to January 1, 2020, the number of employees with employment contracts was lower by only 648. Asked why a part of the media reported that 850,000 people had lost their jobs in recent months, the prime minister said: “I think the news needs to be better substantiated.”
- PM Orban: Gov’t to adopt GEO regarding the one billion euro available for investments: The government is about to adopt a government emergency ordinance regarding the one billion euros made available as a result of the increase in the flexibility of the programmes funded with European money, meant to support the business environment, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated on Friday.
- European Commission opened 38 infringement cases against Romania in 2019 (report): The European Commission opened 38 infringement cases against Romania in 2019, according to the 2019 annual report monitoring the implementation of European Union law published on Friday by the European Commission.
- Law establishing facilities for paying the rent, not yet applicable: The law on deferring the payment of rent was published on May 21. The deadline for carrying out the procedures of application was 15 days, yet the Ministry of Finance does not know who should draw up the procedures and considers that the law cannot be applied. The Ministry of Public Finance thus requested clarifications from the two chambers of Parliament, but did not receive a response yet.
- Ciolacu: PSD won’t budge an inch; doubling allowances is a necessity: Acting Social Democratic Party (PSD) national leader Marcel Ciolacu said on Monday that PSD will continue to put pressure on the government to implement laws passed by Parliament and promulgated by President Iohannis, noting that doubling child allowances “is not a whim, it’s a necessity.”
- PM Orban: Schools to be reopened depending on the development of the epidemic: PNL leader Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Monday stated that the government is analyzing the possibility to reopen the schools once with the beginning with the new school year while preparing at the same time “for any scenario.” With only a few weeks until school starts, student representatives have staged a protest today in front of the Government calling for concrete solutions for the new school year.
Impact on the economy
- Chinese company wins first road infrastructure contract in Romania: Romania’s public road company CNAIR signed on July 31 with Chinee construction company Sinohydro the contract for the construction of the 5.535-km ring road of Zalau city in western Romania. The contract’s value is RON 186 million (EUR 38.2 mln), without VAT. The Chinese group was the sole bidder for this contract.
- Study: many RO firms ignore coronavirus threat: Many Romanian companies do not take seriously the threats posed by the coronavirus, shows an analysis performed by Frames & Hygienium, quoted by Adevarul. The number of companies with cases of infections has increased significantly and the danger, beyond the health of the employees, is that more businesses get stuck with major consequences on the economic chains of supply, the document also shows. As over 80% of Romanian companies are poorly capitalized and do not have funds for crisis situations, the danger of economic contagion is significant. The increase in the number of coronavirus cases in counties such as Prahova, Brasov, Timis, and Galati has also been caused by the appearance of outbreaks of coronavirus in some companies, most of them in the small and medium-sized (SME) segment. According to Frames experts, in many companies, especially in SMEs, compliance with the prevention rules is optional.
- Foreign shareholders inject over 43 million euros in financial companies in H1 2020: Companies operating on the Romanian financial market received capital injections of 43.08 million euros from foreign shareholders in H1 2020, up 20% from H1 2019, when they totaled 35.7 million euros, according to data with the National Companies Registry Office (ONRC).
- INS: Arrivals in tourist accommodation units down 74.5pct in June; 3.9 were foreign tourists: Arrivals recorded in tourist accommodation units in June 2020 dropped by 74.5 pct over those in May 2019, standing at 334,000, foreign tourists representing 3.9 per cent, according to data from the National Institute for Statistics (INS) sent to AGERPRES on Monday.
- 49,051 authorised individuals, legal operators registered in first 6 months of 2020, down 37.07 pct: The number of registrations of authorised individuals and legal operators dropped in the first six months of 2020 by 37.07 pct, compared to the similar period of 2019, to 49,051, of which 33,972 LLCs, according to data centralised by the National Office of Trade Register (ONRC).
- CEZ Group implementing long-term teleworking system in Romania: The CEZ Group is implementing a long-term teleworking system in Romania as more than half of the employees of CEZ companies in Romania have been teleworking since the beginning of the state of emergency, the company announced on Friday.