Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Romania records 145 daily coronavirus cases, total exceeds 20,700: Romania recorded 145 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 20,749 on Tuesday, June 9, at 13:00, the authorities announced. Of the confirmed cases, 14,910 patients have recovered. By the same date, 1,345 Covid-19 patients died, while 152 were being treated in intensive care units. At a national level, 511,295 tests were carried out by June 9. Over the weekend and Pentecost holiday there were 187 new cases on Saturday, 189 new cases on Sunday, and 125 new cases on Monday.
  • Romania participates in Team Europe int’l assistance project and “The Coronavirus Global Response” initiative: Romania participates in one of the most ambitious international assistance projects – “Team Europe”, which was the main topic on the agenda of European officials at the informal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, and at the same time our country is part of “The Coronavirus Global Response” fundraising initiative, the MAE (Foreign Affairs Ministry) informs on Monday.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • No decision yet on lifting the state of alert: The Head of the Emergency Situations Department (DSU), Raed Arafat, has said that the Coronavirus is still present in Romania and we’ll not be able to return to the life before the pandemic after June 15. Arafat told TVR 1 that we have to wait for several more days before deciding if the state of alert goes on or not. “We still have out breaks in more counties. The number of cases is not stable yet, we had increased in the number of new infections instead of having a consistent decline”, the DSU Head explained. Arafat said that we still have 5-6 more days to analyze the evolution of the situation after the relaxation of restrictions on June 1.  The DSU head explained that some measures, such as wearing masks in indoor venues, will have to be maintained. Professor Alexandru Rafila told Digi24 that in the next period, emphasis should be placed on educating people and on capitalizing on the results obtained so far in keeping the epidemic under control. He commented on Raed Arafat’s statement on the possible state of alert even after June 15 saying that Mr. Arafat would want an administrative lever for managing any new outbreaks that might occur.
  • RO center-left parties negotiate electoral alliance and no-confidence motion: Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD), Pro Romania, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) have started talks to form a center-left coalition to participate in the next local and parliamentary elections, ALDE president, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, announced on Friday, June 5. “We believe that we have a real chance in the next elections going together as part of a center-left coalition,” said Tariceanu, speaking for Romania TV, Agerpres reported. Social Democratic Party (PSD) Interim Chairman Marcel Ciolacu announced on Monday evening that he is carrying out talks with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu and with the leader of the Pro Romania party, Victor Ponta, to build an alliance between the three parties for the local elections. “I carry out talks with Mr Tariceanu and with Mr Victor Ponta in this regard and not only in Bucharest,” Ciolacu told B1 TV private television station. He reiterated that, together with the two politicians, he decided to file a censure motion against the Government. However, he mentioned that this thing won’t happen as long as Romania is under a state of alert. PSD wants to finalize in the Parliament by the end of the week the law on the extension of the mandates of the local administration authorities and to set the date of the elections. The Social Democrats are working on a project that proposes halving the number of signatures required to submit candidacies and extending the mandates of local elected officials until November 1.
  • ALDE says Iohannis-Orban gov’t prepare state of alert prolongation to avoid censure motion: The Orban government is preparing to extend the state of alert to avoid the censure motion, an ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, ed. n.) post written on the party’s Facebook page on Monday says.
  • Senate to debate simple motion against Labour Minister: The Senate plenum is set to debate on Tuesday the simple motion initiated by the Social Democrats against the Minister of Labour, Violeta Alexandru. The Chamber will also debate today a simple motion against Minister of Public Works, Development and Administration Ion Stefan in plenary sitting.
  • PM Orban meets Coalition for Romania’s Development, discusses public credit guarantee schemes: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Friday had a new round of consultations with the representatives of the Coalition for Romania’s Development at the Victoria Palace, with whom he discussed public credit guarantee schemes.
  • PM Orban, financial experts discuss financing mechanism complementary to SME Invest: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Tuesday welcomed leaders of the Association of Romania’s Financial Companies to discuss the introduction of a funding mechanism complementary to the SME Invest programme with the aim of supporting companies to obtain funding for the purchase of equipment and machinery necessary for their activity.
  • President Iohannis, Gov’t members meeting to discuss management measures of COVID-19 epidemic: President Klaus Iohannis will carry out a meeting with the Government members at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, on Tuesday, to discuss the management measures in controlling the COVID-19 epidemic. The meeting takes place at 13:00hrs and will be attended by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, Interior Minister Marcel Vela, Health Minister Nelu Tataru, National Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca, Economy, Energy and Business Environment Minister Virgil Popescu and head of the Emergency Situations Department Raed Arafat. The authorities are expected to take new relaxation measures from June 15, such as the reopening of malls or access inside restaurants in addition to terraces. The National Association of Travel Agencies (ANAT) also called on the government to lift travel restrictions from June 15, starting with trips to neighboring countries, considering that any extension of the self-isolation measure after returning from scheduled holidays in the Balkans would not have any justification after this date, and the start of the external tourist season cannot be postponed. At the same time, the tourism employers asked the Government, in an open letter, for restaurants to enter the second phase of relaxation on June 15, namely the reopening of the interiors, otherwise there is a risk that the estimated number of unemployed in HoReCa would rise from 30%, as estimated now, to 40%.
  • Meleşcanu switches party again and joins the Humanist Power Party (PPU): Senator Teodor Meleşcanu changed the party again, joining the Humanist Power Party, founded by Dan Voiculescu. He states that after a lifetime dedicated to social-liberal projects, the assumption of humanist identity is a natural step, which responds to the landmarks he has always promoted – dignity, balance, pragmatism.
  • The Minister of Environment announces that the wood industry will receive 200 million euros support from European funds: The Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, Costel Alexe, announced on Tuesday that small forestry companies will receive a financial support of about 200 million euros, and the amounts will be awarded in grants of 200,000 euros each. The Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, Costel Alexe, participated on Tuesday in the Debate on the identification, development and implementation of financial support mechanisms for the wood industry, in the future financial year 2021-2027, at the Transilvania University of Brasov.

 

Impact on the economy

  • S&P keeps Romania’s rating in investment-grade area: International rating agency S&P affirmed, on June 5, Romania’s sovereign credit ratings at BBB-/negative, thus keeping the country in the investment-grade category. Expectations for sovereign downgrade were significant, although maintaining the status quo was the baseline scenario. Still, S&P kept the negative outlook and cited risks to the country’s fiscal and external balances over the next 18 months unless policymakers stabilize and consolidate the budgetary stance after this COVID-19-induced recession. Rating agencies cannot ignore Romania’s successful issue of bonds to the international markets and the fact that it continued to have economic growth in the first quarter of the year, the Minister of Public Finance Florin Citu told an interview with AGERPRES. “I hope they will maintain the rating. I would be surprised if they don’t appreciate the performance that we had in the first quarter,” said Florin Citu. In regard to a possible downgrade of the country rating, the Minister of Finance said a decision like this would show its consequences in the long run.
  • Romania’s trade deficit reaches 6.089 billion lei, January through April (INS): Romania’s trade balance deficit (FOB/CIF) increased by almost 974 million lei up to 6.089 billion lei January through April this year, show data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Tuesday. In the same interval, exports dropped 13.3 per cent and imports dropped 7.4 per cent compared with the first four months of the previous year. Compared with April 2019, March exports dropped 47 per cent and imports dropped 34 per cent this year.
  • Ireland and Romania – the highest annual economic growth in the EU in the first quarter of 2020: Ireland and Romania recorded the most significant economic growth of the 27 EU Member States in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, shows data released on Tuesday by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat).
  • New car registrations in Romania decrease by almost one third five months into 2020: New car registrations in Romania decreased by 31.43% in the first five months of 2020, compared with the same period of the previous year, while the decrease in the used cars segment was almost 16% at a comparative level according to statistics with the Directorate for Driving Permits and Vehicle Registration (DRPCIV) released on Tuesday.
  • Real estate investments in RO up 21% in Q1 despite COVID-19: The volume of real estate investments in Romania in the first quarter (Q1) increased by 21% compared to the same period last year to EUR 145 million, even in the absence of the expected large-sized deals that were deferred. “The emergency measures were lifted in Romania in mid-May, so we expect to better understand the extent of the coronavirus’ impact on the economy and the real estate market at the end of the second quarter,” according to real estate consultancy firm JLL that compiled the report, quoted by Economica.net.
  • Tarom to bring local tourists to Black Sea resorts: Romanian flag carrier Tarom will launch in July several domestic routes to bring local tourists to Black Sea resorts, Agerpres reported. The airline launched this initiative in cooperation with the Federation of Tourism Promotion Associations in Romania (FAPT) under the proposed Strategic Plan, “Reconnecting Romania.”
  • Air passenger transport drops by 17.1pct in Q1 2020: The air passenger transport dropped by 17.1pct in the first quarter of 2020, due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, from 4.644 million passengers to 3.851 million passengers, according to the data released by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
  • Romania’s central bank sets up EUR 4.5 bln repo line with ECB: The European Central Bank (ECB) and Romania’s National Bank (BNR) have agreed to set up a repo line arrangement. aUnder this agreement, the ECB will provide euro liquidity to the BNR to address possible euro liquidity needs in the presence of market dysfunctions due to the COVID -19 shock, BNR announced.
  • More than 15,000 Romanians arrive to Romanian resorts at the Black Sea on Pentecost holiday (study): More than 15,000 Romanians arrived to Romanian resorts at the Black Sea during the Pentecost mini-holiday, exceeding the initial estimates of tour operators were between 10,000 and 12,000 people, according to a study by the Litoralulromanesc.ro online agency.
  • Bucharest restaurant charges COVID-19 tax: A Bucharest restaurant has charged clients a COVID-19 tax worth RON 5 (a little over EUR 1). The restaurant introduced the tax “to compensate for the costs that come with social distancing, at least in the first phase of the loosening of the restrictions,” a restaurant representative told Economica.net.
  • Fuels get more expensive. Petrom raised prices by RON 0.04/liter due to rising international oil prices: Petrom, leader in the fuel distribution market, has increased the prices of gasoline and diesel sold at its gas stations, by RON 0.04/liter, following another increase of RON 0.03/liter operated recently. These are the first price hikes since the end of April, and are due to the increase of crude oil prices.
  • Oil companies warn that they can no longer drill any wells in Romania, due to the bill on land sales: The Romanian Association of Oil Exploration and Production Companies (ROPEPCA) points out that if the bill on agricultural land sales comes into force, it will be impossible for oil companies to use the land to look for new fossil fuel deposits. Furthermore, oil companies could no longer respect the lease agreements in force. Last week, the Parliament adopted a draft law on the sale of agricultural land in Romania (PL-x 336/2020). The adopted law, to be sent for promulgation, establishes new conditions for transactions with agricultural land, completing and amending Law no. 17/2014 and Law no. 268/2011. Among others, the adopted law requires that agricultural land plots be sold only to companies and individuals who can prove that they have carried out mainly agricultural activities in the last 5 years. Moreover, once purchased, the land should be used only for agricultural activities.
  • Elevators and air conditioning, along with open space, some of the elements of office buildings subject to change due to COVID-19: The design and specifications of office buildings are reviewed by their owners and tenants due to COVID-19, according to a report by real estate consultancy firm Savills. Sanitation, elevators, social distancing and air conditioning are just some of the factors taken into account if the COVID-19 pandemic is prolonged. Real estate developer GTC has allocated EUR 70,000 for its five office projects in Bucharest for COVID-19 prevention measures disposed by the authorities or requested by tenants.

The company that donated 18 plasma collection devices to the Romanian state from patients cured by coronavirus could withdraw the sponsorship offer for 32 more devices, after receiving no response from the authorities: The company that donated to the Romanian state 18 devices for plasma collection from patients cured of coronavirus, the only such devices available in our country at this time, announced that it could withdraw the sponsorship offer for 32 more devices, because it has not received any response from the Ministry of Health