Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Confirmed cases jump to 6,633, death toll rises to 318: The total number of COVID-19 infection cases confirmed by tests has reached 6,633 in Romania, according to new official data released on Monday, April 13, 13:00. This means that 333 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the country in 24 hours. Of the total number of confirmed patients, 914 were declared cured and discharged from the hospital. At the same time, the death toll reached 318, according to the same report. A total of 231 patients are currently admitted to intensive care.
  • HealthMin Tataru decides to issue order so management of Focsani Hospital be ensured by military medical staff: Health Minister Nelu Tataru announced on Monday that he decided, together with National Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca, to issue an order under which the management of the Focsani County Hospital be ensured by military staff during the state of emergency. Focsani might be a new Coronavirus outbreak in Romania, after 35 representatives of the medical staff of the Miliary Hospital in the city are infected and there were several cases also reported at the County Hospital and at the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations.
  • Third COVID-19 case at Justice Ministry; employees to work from home: The Ministry of Justice announced on Monday that from Tuesday its employees will work from home after a third employee has been confirmed with the novel coronavirus.
  • 20 persons without symptoms confirmed to have COVID-19 at Oncology Institute: A number of 20 persons, three of them being from among the medical staff, have been found to have COVID-19 at the Oncology Institute in Cluj-Napoca, the prefect of the Cluj County, Mircea Abrudean, informed on Monday.
  • New outbreak of coronavirus in a retirement home in Orastie: A new Coronvirus outbreak has been detected in a retirement home in Orastie, Hunedoara county, where 21 out of 30 elderly have tested positive for COVID-19. Five caretakers are also infected. This is the third outbreak in Romania, after two previous cases in Galati.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Marcel Ciolacu: Extending the state of emergency without measures to prevent an economic disaster would be totally reckless: PSD President Marcel Ciolacu asked President Iohannis and the PNL Government that the extension of the state of emergency be accompanied by economic and social measures. “Extending the state of emergency #without a minimum guarantee that the correct and necessary measures will be taken to prevent an economic disaster would be a totally reckless,” said Ciolacu. “We will not agree to another lost month for the citizens and the economy,” Ciolacu wrote on his Facebook page. On Tuesday, the head of state will issue a new decree, which will enter into force on Wednesday, which will extend the state of emergency until May 14, Digi24 reported. According to the Law, declaring of the state of emergency or state of siege, extending or restricting its scope, can be made by the President of Romania, with the consent of the Parliament. ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu also said he would not vote to extend the state of emergency, accusing the authorities of conducting an “anti-Romanian policy” and saying that normal activity should be resumed in Romania, both at companies and institutions.
  • European Commission criticizes Romania’s decision to ban exports of agricultural products: The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of Romania’s decision to ban exports of agricultural products, adding that it will analyze the impact that this ban will have on trade within the single market, Bloomberg reported. The European Commission added that it holds discussions with the Romanian authorities and assesses the impact of the ban. Maintaining a functional food supply chain is a priority in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU executive said. Bloomberg said in an analysis on Friday that Romania became the first country to block cereal exports during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), a dramatic decision that could raise concerns about global food supply. PM Ludovic Orban however made clarifications on Friday night saying that the ban does not apply to countries from the European Union, claiming that the information was erroneously transmitted and that Romania is a member of the EU and thus cannot ban the freedom of movement of goods.
  • Romanian authorities expect Covid-19 pandemic peak end-April, difficult weeks ahead: Some analyses show that Romania will see the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic between April 22 and April 26, Raed Arafat, the head of the Emergency Services Department (DSU), said. However, the data could change, he said, insisting that prevention measures need to be maintained after the epidemiological peak is reached. The DSU head also said that several intensive care units in the country have already reached two thirds of their capacity to care for patients in serious condition. Arafat also said that efforts are being made to purchase new ventilators and that providers have promised to deliver them rapidly. Secretary of state Raed Arafat, one of the key people in charge with managing the new coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Romania, is the personality that enjoys the highest confidence of all local decision makers, according to a survey conducted by IRES.
  • USR’s Barna: We might have to get used to living with this epidemic for a longer time: Leader of the Save Romania Union (USR) Dan Barna said we might need to get used to resuming our economic activity before the epidemic actually stops, in which context the population expects responsible reactions from the political class, not just some “political noise.”
  • ALDE’s Tariceanu asking for inquiry into departure of 2,000 Romanians to work in Germany: National leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Calin Popescu-Tariceanu argues that a parliamentary committee should be set up to inquire into what he dubs “the asparagus operation” that saw 2,000 Romanians leave to work in Germany amid an ongoing state of emergency.
  • IntMin Vela says situation of Romanians who cannot transit Austria to come home to be solved bilaterally: Minister of Interior Marcel Vela on Sunday evening stated, at the Nadlac I border crossing point (PTF), that he will ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss with his Austrian counterpart to solve the situation of the Romanians who cannot transit Austria on their way home.
  • IntMin Vela announces new military ordinance in the making to regulate cross-border traffic with Bulgaria: Interior Minister Marcel Vela announced on Saturday that a new military ordinance could be issued next week to regulate, among others, cross-border traffic with Bulgaria, so as to allow the movement of agricultural workers.
  • UDMR’s Hunor: Hungary has lifted export ban for drug used in treating COVID-19: Hungary has lifted, at the request of the UDMR (Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania), the export ban of a drug widely used in the treatment of COVID-19 – hydroxychloroquine.  He specified that the hospitals in Romania will have access to sufficient quantities of this important drug used to treat COVID-19 starting on Friday.
  • USR: PNL Gov’t prefers not to give OUG to repeal special pensions: The judges of the Constitutional Court are postponing the ruling on the draft law aimed at repealing special pensions, “pushing” the referral for May 6, in the context of the state of emergency, because “the PNL [National Liberal Party] Government prefers not to give an OUG for the elimination of these categories of pensions and is showing no signs that it is considering our proposal to tax 90% of the special pensions in payment that exceed a certain level,” Save Romania Union (USR) said on Monday.
  • 100,000 protection coveralls purchase from South Korea brought from Germany: 100,000 protection coveralls (weighing around 45 tons) will be brought in Romania by the Romanian Air Force aircraft from Germany. There will be daily fights from Bucharest to Frankfurt from Monday to Friday, the Romanian Ministry of Defence informed.

 

Impact on the economy

  • Virgil Popescu: The economy already has a contraction between 30 and 40% / The auto industry seems to recover: The Minister of Economy Virgil Popescu says that at this moment, the economy has a contraction between 30 and 40%. After the peak of the epidemic is reached, this crisis could enter a downward slope, and measures will be applied to revive the economy, Economy Minister Virgil Popescu told Radio Romania Actualitati on Monday.
  • EC endorses Romania’s plan to help SMEs affected by COVID-19 outbreak: The European Commission (EC) has allowed Romania to run a RON 16 billion (EUR 3.3 bln) scheme designed to support local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Most of the sum represents state-guaranteed bank loans. The  guarantee fees and the interest rates that the state will actually pay will cost the budget some EUR 161 million for a total volume of EUR 3.1 bln guaranteed loans, according to government officials.
  • Romania seeking EC’s approval for economy support package: Romania sought the European Commission’s approval for a set of measures to support the economy, one of the measures envisaged by Minister of European Funds Marcel Bolos being the non-reimbursable working capital.  According to a Ministry statement, under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII and CRII +) initiated by the European Commission, the Ministry of European Funds has recently advocated a set of measures to enable the concrete fight against the negative effects of the pandemic. The total allocation is 37 billion euros, but requires complementary decision-making for each state, in order to help and protect the most vulnerable citizens, says the Ministry of European Funds. Minister Marcel Bolos also intends to move forward the start of the implementation of the future Operational Program for the Combat of Poverty, so that it becomes operational as of January 1, 2021, in order to support the Romanians affected by the harsh economic context.
  • EximBank insures risks faced by Romanian exporters to EU and OECD countries: Romanian state owned bank EximBank, specialising in trade financing, has launched an insurance product aimed at covering the short-term risks faced by Romanian exporters selling to customers in the European Union or OECD countries.
  • Three companies belonging to the GSP group, the most important Romanian offshore oil services provider, respectively  Grup Servicii Petroliere SA, Grup Servicii Petroliere Shipyard, and Grup Servicii Petroliere Logistic, have obtained emergency situation certificates from the Ministry of Economy, a sign that the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictive measures taken by the state to curb it have already led to a decline in investments in the oil and gas industry.
  • Romania’s tennis star Simona Halep donates EUR 30,000 to help fight coronavirus: Several athletes from around the world got involved in the fight against the new coronavirus, and one of them is Romanian tennis ace Simona Halep. She donated EUR 30,000 to help Romania’s efforts against COVID-19.
  • Michelin is reopening its metallic cord factory in Romania: French tire producer Michelin is gradually reopening its metallic cord factory in Romania, while maintaining its two tire factories close, the company announced in a press release.
  • Dacia plant to progressively restart production as of April 21, activity back to normal beginning May 4: Carmaker Groupe Renault Romania announced this week that production will be progressively resumed at the Mioveni-based Dacia plant starting from April 21, and that the return to normal activity is planned for May 4.
  • CE Oltenia employees to be put on furlough, by rotation, as of 13 April and until 17 June: The approximately 13,000 employees of the Compex Energetic Oltenia – CEO (Oltenia Energy Complex) will be put on furlough, by rotation, as of 13 April and until 17 June, the measure being taken as a result of the significant decrease of the electricity sales and, implicitly, the company’s revenues, according to a news release posted on Sunday evening on the website of the company.
  • Number of suspended businesses down 27 pct Jan – Feb 2020: The number of companies that suspended their activity in the first two months of 2020 decreased by 27.13 pct from the same time of 2019 to 2,216, shows data released by the National Companies Registry Office (ONRC). As many as 1,023 businesses suspended their activity this February.
  • Newly-launched online platform streams concerts of Romanian bands: Music management, booking and PR agency Overground Music has launched Overground Showroom, a video on-demand library of concerts of Romanian bands.
  • Romanian employees working from home appreciate saving time and money, but they miss interaction with colleagues, according the a study conducted by the real estate consulting company Cushman & Wakefield Echinox
  • Wine sales have dropped dramatically: Wine sales have dropped dramatically with the closing of restaurants and the cancellation of events and wine tourism which came to a stop. Winery owners say distributors have wine-filled warehouses, and their biggest fear is that huge discounts and ridiculous promotions will be made to “dump” the stocks.