Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania reported 226 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, according to the latest daily official report released on Monday, May 11, at 13:00, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 15.588. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed patients who have recovered from COVID-19 also increased to 7,245. Noteworthy, the total number of recovered persons in Romania is almost half of those confirmed infected. The death toll increased to 972. By Monday, May 11, 262,219 tests were processed nationwide.
- Romania plans national COVID-19 testing after June 1: The National Institute for Public Health will run a national Covid-19 testing campaign after June 1, health minister Nelu Tătaru told local radio station Europa FM on Sunday, May 10. The testing will check the population’s immunity and the spread of the virus, three months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Romania. The testing will be done in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, Bucharest City Hall councilors have voted on Monday the proposal of Bucharest Mayor, Gabriela for the mass testing program of people in Bucharest. The tests will be performed in hospitals in Bucharest and will be PCR-type. More than 11,000 Bucharest residents would be tested on a volunteer basis.
- New modular hospital for COVID-19 patients inaugurated in Bucharest: A new modular hospital that will be used for the treatment of mild coronavirus cases was inaugurated in Bucharest on Friday, May 8.
Political and regulatory
- Draft law on measures to prevent and combat effects of COVID-19 pandemic approved in Gov’t meeting: The Government has approved in Monday’s meeting a draft law regarding some measures for the prevention and combat of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic which are to be implemented after 15 May, when the state of emergency will be switched to a state of alert. Authorities want Romania to enter state of alert after May 15. However, the draft must also be approved in Parliament, where it might receive further amendments. Moreover, the Ombudsman has already challenged the state of alert at the Constitutional Court, which would take a decision on this complaint on Thursday. Ludovic Orban announced at the beginning of the Government meeting that he will ask the Parliament to debate the bill in emergency procedure. “The CCR has deprived the authorities of the necessary levers to fight effectively and to have at their disposal all the tools to protect Romanians from the risk of becoming infected,” Orban said, referring to last week’s Constitutional Court decision by which the increased fines were declared unconstitutional. He said that the draft law method had been chosen to ensure that the Government would have the necessary tools at its disposal. Ludovic Orban also asked the Minister of Interior, Marcel Vela, to be prepared with any changes that will be necessary to this bill, given that the CCR debates on Thursday, May 15 the complaint lodged by Ombudsman, Renate Weber, to the state of alert. He called on Interior Minister Marcel Vela to prepare “a legal, constitutional and factual reply” in the event of a ruling by the Romanian Constitutional Court. The Minister of Interior, Marcel Vela, wrote on Sunday on Facebook that, after the publication of the proposed measures for the first stage of relaxation during the state of alert, he received “many ideas, proposals or observations” and that the final list of measures will be approved this week. In regards to the fines, political sources claim that the party is split, with Ludovic Orban not agreeing with the idea of canceling the fines deemed illegal by CCR through an Emergency Ordinance. Meanwhile, during the state of alert, the legal regime of contraventions is assimilated to the provisions of Ordinance 2/2001 (the general legal framework fines) in order to avoid the situation created after CCR’s decision affecting Ordinance 1/1999, announced Ionel Dancă, the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, upon presenting the main measures in the draft law on combating the COVID-19 pandemic, during the state of alert.
- Romania’s Interior Ministry drafts rules for after COVID-19 state of emergency: Romania’s Government wants to keep some of the restrictions enforced through the military ordinances during the state of emergency even after the state of emergency ends on May 15, according to a draft document published for public debate by the Interior Ministry. Foreigners will still be banned from entering the country (with exceptions), shopping malls will remain closed, and flights to and from coronavirus hotspots (countries defined as the Red Zone: 12 countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, UK, US, Turkey) will remain suspended, according to the document. International road transportation services to and from the Red Zones will remain suspended. Wearing masks will be mandatory in public indoor places, including public transportation. People will be allowed to move freely within their hometown, and written statements will no longer be necessary. Trips outside the locality will be allowed for a limited number of purposes, including visiting family members (conditioned on “a limited number of persons” attending and social distancing regulations being observed) or outdoor sports/leisure not involving groups of over three people. Parks will be re-opened for visitors, except for the playgrounds. The Interior Ministry has also drafted specific rules for companies that will resume activity and their employees. The document can be consulted on the web page of the Interior Ministry, by accessing the link https://www.mai.gov.ro/informatii-publice/transparenta-decizionala/.
- PM Orban announces that OUG will be issued if CCR rules legislation on state of alert unconstitutional: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced on Saturday that if the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) rules the legislation on the state of alert unconstitutional, the Government will issue an emergency ordinance. He argued that the CCR’s ruling in the case of fines imposed during the state of emergency was a “call for non-compliance with the Constitution, an instigation to non-compliance with the law and the rules.”Ludovic Orban visited, on Saturday, together with President Klaus Iohannis and the Minister of Health, Nelu Tataru, the COVID-19 Medical Support Unit in Targu Mures.
- Chamber to consider simple motion against the FinMin Citu: The Chamber of Deputies will be considering today a simple motion tabled by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) against Finance Minister Florin Citu, and cast a vote on it on Wednesday.
- HealthMin Tataru to Gov’t Question Time: Health Minister Nelu Tataru is invited on Monday to a “Government Question Time” in the plenary meeting of the Chamber of Deputies. The decision was made last week in the meeting of the Standing Bureau, at the request of the Save Romania Union (USR) parliamentary group.
- ForMin Aurescu, LabMin Alexandru to be heard in specialist committees: The joint foreign policy, European affairs and labor committees of the Senate will hear on Monday, from 12:00, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu and Minister of Labor Violeta Alexandru. The topic of the hearing is the way in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection managed the travel of some Romanian workers abroad, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate’s website mentions.
- AMR, UNJR, AJADO and APR condemn the attacks on the CCR: Legal associations of magistrates, judges and prosecutors – AMR, UNJR, AJADO and APR, condemn the attacks on the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) which undermines the rule of law and democracy in Romania. The recent attacks against the Romanian Constitutional Court, of extraordinary gravity, coming from some political leaders, journalists, commentators or representatives of some NGOs, show that, 30 years after the fall of the communist dictatorship, autocratic reflexes still persist in the Romanian society, violations of the Constitution being excused in the name of security and the “interest of the people”.
Impact on the economy
- Number of suspended businesses down 72 pct in first quarter of 2020: The number of suspended companies decreased in the first three months of 2020 by 72.28%, compared to the same period last year, and reached 13,791, according to statistics from the National Trade Register Office (ONRC). Most suspensions were registered in Bucharest – 1,873 companies.
- Car registration in Romania halve in April 2020: The registrations of new cars in Romania decreased in April 2020 by 50.3% compared to April 2019, reaching a volume of 4,321 units, announced the Association of Car Importers and Producers – APIA. In the first four months of 2020, the number of newly registered cars reached 32,300 units, down 27.5% compared to the same period in 2019.
- Continental Romania keeps hiring despite coronavirus epidemic: One of the largest factories in Sibiu, central Romania, operated by German group Continental, has continued hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The factory is also among the few local employers that test their employees for COVID-19, using the same method applied to patients at the County Emergency Clinical Hospital.
- Romanians get 10% bonus for paying their taxes by June 30: Individual taxpayers in Romania will get a bonus of up to 10% for paying their taxes and social security contributions related to their last years’ revenues before June 30, under a Government ordinance passed on May 8. The ordinance also implies deferring the deadline for filing the personal income statement to June 30.
- RO state firms asked to contribute to budget unless they make investments: Romania’s Government is currently reviewing the investment plans submitted by the state-owned companies, including those listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB). Based on this assessment, the Government will decide which of these companies will be required to pay additional dividends.
- Romania’s Q1 2020 trade deficit reaches 4.46 billion euros: Romania’s Q1 2020 FOB/CIF trade balance deficit reached 4.46 billion euros, up 732.4 million on Q1 2019, shows data with the National Institute of Statistics (INS) released on Monday.
- Romanian oil companies ask the Government for urgent measures for digitalization, in order to facilitate the activity of the industry: The Oil and Gas Employers’ Federation has submitted an open letter to the Prime Minister requesting the unblocking of the digitalization process so that Romanian companies can use declassified information through “cloud” technologies. “Oil companies have reiterated the importance of declassifying data and information in the oil industry, an action without which digitalization is inaccessible to Romanian companies. We refer to technologies such as “Cloud”, “Big Data” and “Cloud Computing” which involve data processing in “cloud data centers” located in the European Union,” the letter reads among others.