Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- 397 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Romania, 31 people died in the past 24 hrs: 397 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Romania in the past 24 hours out of 11,855 tests, according to the data released by the Strategic Communication Group on July 7. 231 persons are currently in intensive care. Overall, 29,620 cases of infected people with COVID-19 have been confirmed in Romania since the start of the pandemic. Among those ones, 21,927 were discharged from hospitals: 20,534 patients recovered and 1,393 have developed no symptoms despite testing positive for COVID-19. The death toll mounted to 1,799. 31 people diagnosed with COVID-19 infection have died from July 6 to July 7. To date, 783,337 tests have been processed at national level.
Political and regulatory
- Travel restrictions: Romania adds 22 more countries to the “green list”: The Romanian authorities have updated the “green list” of countries for which travel restrictions due to COVID-19 don’t apply anymore, adding 22 more countries to this list, News.ro reported. Travelers arriving in Romania from these countries are no longer recommended to stay under quarantine or home isolation for 14 days. Flights to and from the countries on the “green list” will also resume starting Tuesday, July 7, the Strategic Communication Group announced. At present, the list of member countries of the European Union and the European Economic Area for which the isolation/quarantine measures are no longer recommended includes 32 states. Among them, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Spain. The full list is available here. However, there also states that enforced travel restrictions against Romanian citizens, following the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in Romania lately. At present, there are only 3 states with a rate of infection higher than Romania: Sweden, Portugal and Luxembourg. There are also other 10 states, at least, that either deny the Romanians’ access, as they maintain their borders closed (Norway, Finland and Malta), or have restrictions, compelling Romanians to stay under 14-day quarantine or isolation (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Slovenia, Slovakia). Denmark conditions Romanians to have a booking of at least six days of accommodation when entering its territory.
- ALDE to ask Parliament to initiate criminal action against PM Orban for instigating law breaking: The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) will propose that Parliament, under Article 109 of the Constitution on the liability of members of the government, initiate criminal proceedings against Prime Minister Ludovic Orban for instigating law breaking, the party’s national leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said on Tuesday. “Orban’s recommendation to the public not to heed the rulings of the Constitutional Court is a serious violation of the law, of the supreme law, that is, of the Constitution (…),” Tariceanu wrote on Facebook.
- Suspended Unifarm Director Adrian Ionel shows up at DNA: Suspended director of the Unifarm state-run provider of medicines, pharmaceuticals and parapharmaceuticals Eugen Adrian Ionel appeared on Tuesday at the headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) to be heard in a case in which he is accused, among other things, of taking bribes. According to judicial sources, Ionel would be facing a whistleblower in this case. Upon leaving the hearings, the former Unifarm GM said he was innocent and he will prove his innocence.
- Senate plenary sitting to consider setting September 27 as date for 2020 local elections: In an extraordinary plenary sitting today, the Senate will consider two bills regarding the date of the local elections, with September 27 being the proposed date. Featuring on today’s agenda are two bills on the matter – one initiated by the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) and another one by the government, both of which set September 27 as the date for this year’s local elections.
- PM Orban: I signed ‘No Convicts in Public Office’ initiative, we back enshrining integrity into law: Attending on Monday the Prime Minister’s Question Time, PM Ludovic Orban told the Chamber of Deputies’ plenum that he is a signatory of the ‘No Convicts in Public Office’ initiative, and that the National Liberal Party (PNL) supports any project that enshrines into law integrity in the exercise of public office. The PM refused to take any blame for the situation at Unifarm or medical acquisitions, after a row of critics from opposition parties Pro Romania and PSD.
- PM Orban: Mask-wearing requirement to be kept in place as long as necessary: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said that the requirement for people to wear masks will be maintained “for as long as necessary”, just like the other health protection and physical distancing measures.
- HealthMin Tataru about the reopening of restaurants: We want it to happen as soon as possible: Minister of Health Nelu Tataru stated on Monday that he wants restaurants to reopen as soon as possible, but stressed that any relaxation measure is taken depending on the epidemiological context.
- Two Social Democrat MPs, fined after refusing to wear face masks in a fast food restaurant: Two deputies of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Adrian Solomon and Irinel Stativă have been fined by policemen with RON 2,600 after they had refused to wear face masks in a fast-food restaurant in Bucharest’s District 3 and after they had caused a fuss. Police has been called by the restaurant’s owners, but the two MPs continued the row even after the police arrived.
- Fenechiu: A new state of emergency is not excluded, if things get out of control: A new state of emergency is not excluded, if things get out of control, PNL senator Daniel Fenechiu told RFI. The assessment criteria are not only related to the number of infections, but also to their severity, to the number of people who are in a serious condition and are in the intensive care units, as well as the percentage of deaths in those cases, he said.
- Romania’s Anticorruption Directorate: Over 100 cases of fraud with EU funds sent to court in 2019: In 2019, prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) sent to court a total of 108 cases of fraud with European funds, DNA chief prosecutor Crin Bologa announced on Monday, July 6. The damages in these cases amounted to about EUR 40 million.
Impact on the economy
- EC forecast: Contraction by 6% of the Romanian economy in 2020, GDP rise by 4% next year: The Romanian economy showed signs of resilience in the first quarter of the year, says the latest economy forecast released by the European Commission today.
- Romanian company to produce full range of protective masks at competitive price: Romanian company Techtex will install this month the production line for the filtering equipment and become the first local company to produce the entire range of personal protective equipment. Furthermore, the prices will compete with those of the importers: for an order of 10 million face masks, the company is charging RON 0.6, or some 12 euro cents per face mask – compared to RON 2 per face mask estimated in the first stage when the demand was much higher than the supply, Adevarul reported. Notably, the non-woven material is produced in house from polypropylene that is also delivered by a local producer (most likely Rompetrol Rafinare).
- Bucharest ranks as 7th best tech city in Europe: Bucharest ranks 7th out of 25 European cities in terms of opportunities for startups and technology, in the Tech Cities of the Future ranking made by fDi, a division of the Financial Times, and TNW (The Next Web). Meanwhile, Iasi and Cluj occupy the 2nd and 3rd places in the top 10 cities in terms of costs, Ziarul Financiar reported.
- Romania’s largest online retailer eMAG trains senior managers at Yale: Romania’s largest online retailer eMAG has launched a new program called eMAG Executive Development, run by Yale School of Management, to be attended by 50 senior managers from the company. This is a program that will take place in August and September through online sessions, at the end of which graduates will gain a solid knowledge of decision analysis, strategy, and finance.
- Romania’s Q1 2020 growth estimate officially kept at 0.3pct: According to INS, the seasonally adjusted Gross Domestic Product estimated for the first quarter of 2020 was 272.074 billion lei current prices, up in real terms 0.3% from Q4 2019 and by 2.7% from Q1 2019.
- Finance Ministry raises 977.6 ml lei from banks for average yield of 3.50 ppa: The Public Finance Ministry raised on Monday 977.6 million lei from banks through a benchmark bond issue with a 40-month residual maturity, at an average yield of 3.50 ppa, the National Bank of Romania announced.
- Timisoara International Airport announces flight resumption to UK, Spain, Belgium: Timisoara International Airport announced flight resumption to the UK, Spain and Belgium, after the list of safe countries has been updated, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.
- Jumbo sales, hit hard by the pandemic in the first half. 86% collapse in April. Retailer prepares for a second wave of Covid-19: Sales of Greek toy and decoration retailer Jumbo, present with a network of 14 stores in Romania, fell 17% in the first half, driven down by the sharp decline in sales in March and April, when most stores were closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Jumbo’s sales fell 51% in March and 86% in April compared to similar months in 2019, after the group was forced to close almost all physical stores on the markets where it operates. The stores that remained open were also affected by travel restrictions imposed on residents, while the online segment only partially offset the decline.