Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Romania logs more than 1,200 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, total exceeds 55,000: Romania added 1,232 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 55,241 on Tuesday, August 4, the authorities announced in the daily report released at 13:00. Except for Monday, August 3, when it added 823 cases, Romania has been reporting more than 1,000 daily cases since July 22. Separate from the new cases, 712 patients who were retested still had the Covid-19 infection. Of the total cases, 28,006 patients recovered, while 5,136 asymptomatic patients were discharged ten days after the diagnosis. In the last 24 hours, 48 coronavirus patients died, the highest single-day number since the start of the pandemic. This brings the death toll to 2,480 by August 4. At a national level, 1,268,899 tests were carried out by August 4, 20,581 of them in the last 24 hours. Of these, 7,548 were performed on request.
  • Romania to receive over 25,000 doses of anti-Covid medicine following EU deal on Remdesivir supply: Under the contract financed and signed on July 28 by the European Commission with pharmaceutical company Gilead, Romania will receive 25,157 doses of the antiviral medicine Veklury (active substance remdesivir) in three batches that will be used for the treatment of eligible COVID-19 patients, the Health Ministry announced on Monday.

 

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Wearing masks in crowded places becomes mandatory in Bucharest: Wearing face masks will become mandatory in Bucharest as of August 4 not only in the Old Town area, but also in other crowded places such as railway stations, bus stations, and markets.
  • RO president promulgates legislation introducing electronic ID cards: Romania will change the current ID cards it issues to electronic ID cards, according to legislation recently promulgated by president Klaus Iohannis.
  • More EU countries introduce travel restrictions for Romanians: Romanians traveling to the Czech Republic need to announce their arrival to the public health department corresponding to the area they stay in after the country added Romania to the “red” list of countries with a high epidemiological risk, Mediafax reported.
  • Romanian authorities prepare for increase in critical coronavirus cases: After the rise in the number of coronavirus cases seen in the past two weeks, the local authorities also expect to see an increase in the number of critical cases. Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s representative to the World Health Organization (WHO), pointed to a two-three week gap between the increase in the number of coronavirus cases and that of patients admitted to intensive care units.
  • Ambulance service workers, HealthMin Tataru discuss budget revision, bonus pay: Leaders of the Ambulance National Trade Union Federation of Romania’s ambulance service workers discussed on Tuesday Health Minister Nelu Tataru budget revision, bonus payments and temporarily distributed positions, according to union leader Gheorghe Chis.
  • ALDE’s Tariceanu: FinMin Citu refuses to make norms for implementation of law on delaying payment of rents: ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu says the Minister of Finance, Florin Citu, “refuses” to draw up norms for the implementation of the Law No. 62/2020 that allowed a delay in the payment of rents during the state of emergency and that came into force on May 21.
  • LabMin Alexandru laments job qualifications as defined by gov’t: In Romania, people qualify for various trades as the government sees fit, which is not normal, because job training money has to go to companies, who will manage it, Labour Minister Violeta Alexandru said on Monday. She said that she does not see a mobilisation of the county employment agencies to be actively involved in facilitating the employment of registered persons, pointing out that they do not seem to be connected to changes in the labour market.
  • Labour minister: Pensions, to increase from September 1, several scenarios being considered one percentage of increase: Minister of Labour and Social Protection Violeta Alexandru declared on Monday, in Alba Iulia, that the pensions will “certainly” increase starting with September 1, without specifying the percentage of the increase, mentioning that “several scenarios” are being considered in this regard.
  • Romanian Academy advocates for National Strategy on Climate Change updating, based on increasing role of research: The Romanian Academy considers it necessary to update the National Strategy on Climate Change, with the extension of the period until 2050, as well as the National Action Plan for its implementation, by taking into account the new international orientations and data on climate evolution in the world and the socioeconomic situation in which Romania is currently found, shows the high forum in a release sent to AGERPRES on Monday.
  • HealthMin Tataru: Decision on new school year start to be made in second half of August: Health Minister Nelu Tataru announced on Monday in Galati that a decision regarding the opening of the new school year will be taken in the second half of August. Tataru specified that the authorities are looking at several scenarios, depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that teachers and students will be informed what to expect in the second half of August.
  • Orban: PSD, party with least legitimacy to file censure motion, it’s politicizing: The leader of the National Liberal Party (ruling PNL), Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday that the Social Democratic Party (PSD) is “the party with the least legitimacy to submit a censure motion at the moment”, claiming that this is a “politicizing”, “electoral” gesture and has no solid motivation behind it”.
  • Republican Party’s Coita running for Bucharest general mayor: National leader of the Republican Party of Romania Alexandru Coita on Tuesday announced he was running for the office of Bucharest general mayor. The party is a new political initiative just set up by Alexandru Coita, after parting ways with the Social Liberal Platform he set up alongside controversial politician and businessman Ilan Laufer. Alexandru Coita, a political analyst often invited at TV stations, is also known for being unknowingly appointed as an advisor to former PM Viorica Dancila and resigning in a letter on Facebook two weeks later.
  • President Klaus Iohannis promulgated the law approving the GEO on COVID-19 information campaigns in the media: President Klaus Iohannis promulgated, on Tuesday, two laws on organizing and conducting public information campaigns in the context of the epidemiological situation caused by the spread of COVID-19. Emergency Ordinance 63/2020 aims to regulate the creation of the legal framework for broadcasting for a fee by the Government, through the services of television and broadcasting programs, print newspapers, magazines, periodicals, online media service providers and advertising providers, public information campaigns on measures to prevent and limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Sources: Ludovic Orban tries to sabotage Traian Băsescu in the Bucharest City Hall race: PNL President Ludovic Orban is allegedly negotiating with PMP President Eugen Tomac an agreement that removes the former President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, from the race for the Bucharest City Hall, in order to consolidate Nicușor Dan’s position in the fight against incumbent mayor Gabriela Firea. “It would be absurd to lose the mayor’s office because of PMP, but Băsescu is unpredictable. He will have nothing to lose”, said sources from the PNL leadership for Adevărul daily. Instead, PNL would demand that a less notorious PMP leader be nominated in the race for the Bucharest City Hall instead of Traian Băsescu, in order to erode as little as possible from Nicușor Dan’s votes. Ioana Constantin is the most frequently mentioned name to replace Băsescu in the fight for the Bucharest City Hall. Meanwhile, Traian Basescu did not officially join the race, yet holds on to the possibility and comments on his potential opponents from the sidelines. The former president of Romania, Traian Băsescu, stated on Digi 24 that he is awaiting PMP’s decision regarding the public offer he made to run for General Mayor of the Bucharest City Hall, considering that he is no longer an active member of the party he founded. He admitted that the ongoing appeal over his alleged collaboration with the Securitate (former secret police) would weigh down on him in the campaign, but claimed he is not afraid and this would be a good opportunity to explain the case.

 

Impact on the economy

 

  • Vacancy rate on Bucharest office market could rise to 13-14% by end of year: The demand for new office space in Bucharest halved in the first half of this year to under 45,000 square meters (sqm). The gross demand (including relocations) contracted by 28% compared to the same period last year to just over 124,000 sqm. Meanwhile, the developers delivered 105,000 sqm of new offices, according to real estate consultancy firm Colliers International.
  • Q4 2019 new passenger car registrations in Romania down 33.6pct: The number of new registrations of road vehicles for passenger transport in Romania decreased by 29.3 per cent, in the second quarter of 2020, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
  • Industrial producer prices decline 0.5% in June 2020 in Romania, y-o-y: Industrial producer prices in Romania, total, domestic and non-domestic market decreased by 0.5% in June 2020 form June 2019, according to data with the National Institute of Statistics (INS) released on Tuesday.
  • Transport Minister Bode: TAROM airline can be saved, its fleet capable of ensuring a financial flow: TAROM airline will be saved because it has a fleet capable of providing a financial flow, but it needs restructuring, the Minister of Transport, Lucian Bode, told Realitatea Plus private television broadcaster on Monday evening.
  • Spark becomes biggest car-sharing operator on RO market: Lithuanian company Spark Technologies, which operates an app-based electric car-sharing service, will add 400 Renault ZOE cars to its Romanian fleet.
  • Romania’s third-biggest bank halves profit due to higher risk costs: The net profit of French group Societe Generale’s Romanian subsidiary, BRD-SocGen, decreased by 47% year-on-year to RON 415 million (EUR 85.7 mln) in the first half of the year. The profit of the bank alone halved to RON 405 mln (EUR 83.7 mln) driven by the lower revenues not matched to the same extent by lower expenditures and higher risk costs amid the deterioration of the economic outlook.
  • RO farming group Holde Agri wants EUR 40 mln financing for expansion: Romanian farming holding Holde Agri Invest is preparing loans and leasing contracts totaling over EUR 38 mln to finance its working capital, the purchase of agricultural equipment and land, and the expansion of its storage capacity, Profit.ro reported.
  • Foreign financial groups pour EUR 43 mln into Romanian subsidiaries in H1: International financial groups increased the capital of their Romanian subsidiaries by EUR 43.1 million in the first half of the year, up 20% compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Trade Registry – ONRC quoted by Profit.ro.
  • French funding of 3,000 euros each for 14 Romanian NGOs to acknowledge support during COVID-19 pandemic: The French Embassy and the French Institute have presented 3,000 euros in grants to 14 Romanian NGOs “to recognise and support the efforts of the Romanian civil society who has succored vulnerable people in need during the COVID-19 lockdown and throughout the entire pandemic.”
  • EU exports 8.2 billion euros worth of electric, hybrid vehicles in 2019: In 2019, the European Union (EU) exported 8.2 billion euros worth of electric cars and hybrid electric cars that can be driven in combination with a petrol or diesel engine. Imports of electric and hybrid electric cars were worth 7.1 billion euros, resulting in a trade surplus of 1.1 billion euros, according to data released on Tuesday by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat).
  • Finance Ministry, planning to borrow 3.45 bln lei from banks in August: The Public Finance Ministry (MFP) seeks to raise this August from commercial banks 3.45 bln lei, of which 3 billion lei through eight issues of government bonds. Another 450 million lei might add to these amounts through additional non-competitive bids related to bond auctions.
  • BNR forex reserves, up to 36.249 billion euro, at July-end: The forex reserves at the National Bank of Romania (BNR) went up 3.56 percent on 31 July 2020, to EUR 36.249 billion, from EUR 35,002 million on 30 June 2020, according to a central bank’s release sent to AGERPRES on Monday.
  • Delivery company expands in Romania by leasing logistics space in Tunari: The delivery company Sameday continues its expansion in Romania by leasing a space with an area of ​​approximately 1,200 square meters in Tunari, near Bucharest, a transaction intermediated by the industrial department of Cushman & Wakefield Echinox.
  • Kaufland promises 1,000 new jobs in Romania: German retailer Kaufland, the leader in the local food market, promises to provide 1,000 new jobs across the country by the end of fiscal year, i.e. February 2021. The company currently has over 15,000 employees.