Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Romania reports 166 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, total exceeds 22,100: Romania recorded 166 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 22,165 on Monday, June 15, at 13:00, the authorities announced. Of the confirmed cases, 15,817 patients have recovered. By the same date, 1,427 Covid-19 patients died, while 175 patients were admitted to intensive care units. At a national level, 564,278 tests were carried out by June 15.
  • Disinformation plays part in decreased interest in coronavirus protection measures, head of RO emergency service says: The falsehoods circulating on social media could be the reason more people chose to ignore the coronavirus prevention measures, Raed Arafat, the head of the Emergency Situations Department (DSU), told local television station Digi24 on Saturday, June 13. He was speaking as Romania recorded an increased number of daily coronavirus cases over the past few days. On Sunday, June 14, the number of daily cases jumped to 320, the highest since the first restrictions were eased in mid-May. On Saturday, the number of new cases of coronavirus had also been high as well, 275 cases.
  • Iasi Infectious Diseases Hospital Manager: We believe we can talk about relapse in case of COVID-19 infection: The manager of the “St. Parascheva” Infectious Diseases Hospital in Iasi, Dr. Carmen Dorobat, said on Friday that four people are being hospitalized in the medical unit who were infected with COVID-19 and suffered a recurrence of the disease.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Romania lifts isolation requirements and flight restrictions for 17 European countries: Romania’s national committee for emergency situations (CNSU) has decided that travelers who arrive from 17 European states will not be quarantined or self-isolated. The flights to and from the respective countries will also resume. The decision is effective June 15. The list of countries includes Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Swiss Confederation, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary, Wall-street.ro reported. The list will be updated weekly, every Monday, to introduce new countries on the list. These countries can also be removed from the list when the epidemiological situation deteriorates.
  • Kindergartens, day nurseries in Romania to reopen later this week: The Government Decision published on Friday in the Official Gazette allowed the kindergartens and day nurseries to resume their activity on Monday, June 15. However, they remained closed because the implementing rules have not yet been published. Education minister Monica Anisie said on Sunday, June 14, that the reopening of nurseries and kindergartens, both public and private, is possible after the publication of the implementing rules, namely the Joint Order of Ministers of Education, Health and Labor, Hotnews.ro reported.
  • HealthMin Tataru: We’ll need to find administrative solution if Parliament doesn’t vote state of alert extension: Health Minister Nelu Tataru told private broadcaster Digi24 on Monday that there would be limited levers at hand to impose certain measures if Parliament does not vote the extension of the state of alert, and that an administrative solution will have to be found to still impose the respective restrictions. Regarding the border reopening for several countries without the requirement for the travelers to isolate at home, Tataru admitted that this could lead to an increase in the number of novel coronavirus infections. In recent days, community transmission of the novel coronavirus has increased, but not in an “exponential” way,” Health minister Tataru told private TV station Digi24 on Monday.
  • PSD’s Ciolacu says party shall vote for everything related to Romanians’ health; anything else – excluded: Social Democratic Party (PSD) Interim Chairman Marcel Ciolacu has stated on Monday, when referring to the decision to extend the state of alert, that Social-Democrat MPs will vote for everything related to Romanians’ health. “We’ll bring some amendments [to the Government Decision extending the state of alert]. We will vote for everything related to Romanians’ health. Anything else is excluded. The colleagues’ proposal was for 15-day extension of the state of alert, but we’ll see after the CExN meeting [the PSD’s National Executive Committee]. I personally, lean toward 15 days,” Ciolacu said prior to the beginning of the PSD’s CExN meeting.
  • Romania, United States mark 140 years of diplomatic relations: Romania and the United States marked this past weekend 140 years of diplomatic relationships. In a message released on the occasion, president Klauss Iohannis called the United States a “firm ally” that accompanied Romania on its “chosen path to consolidating the security and prosperity of its citizens.” The United States and Romania have exponentially increased their cooperation in trade, investment and technology. They work together on strategic issues such as energy security, cybersecurity and secure implementation of the 5G networks or infrastructure connectivity across Central and Eastern Europe in the framework of the Three Seas Initiative. The United States recognizes and appreciates Romania’s lasting efforts to modernize its armed forces and meet its NATO burden-sharing commitments as one of the leading NATO members to allocate 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) for defense spending, said Romanian ambassador to the US George Cristian Maior. The Strategic Partnership with the USA offers a lasting guarantee for national security and prosperity, along with membership in NATO and the European Union, Prime minister Ludovic Orban said on Sunday in a message addressed on the occasion of the 140th anniversary years of diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States of America. Romania is one of the “closest” military and economic allies of the United States in Europe, said the US Ambassador in Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman.
  • Deputies vote to extend tenures of local elected office holders until November 1: The Chamber of Deputies adopted on Monday the bill extending the tenures of local elected office holders until November 1, 2020. The bill had already cleared the Senate, as the first notified chamber. The Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body in this matter.
  • Orban: National Liberal Party sits well in polls, I believe we’ve done our duty: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated that the National Liberal Party (PNL) is sitting well in the polls, even though the Liberal government, a “single color one”, acted in “extremely difficult” conditions, those of a pandemic, an economic crisis and added that, in his opinion, the Executive that he is leading has done its duty. “I believe we’ve done our duty. We saved lives, we saved jobs. I will give you some simple data: in May, the number of employees with a work contract, in May 2020, counted only 14,000 people fewer than the number of employees with a work contract in May 2019,” Orban said.
  • PM Orban: You can’t ask a patient to take a test to be admitted to hospital: Prime minister Ludovic Orban told on Sunday night private broadcaster B1TV that “no one should refuse to admit a person who needs hospital services and who has the legal right to benefit from these services”, and appealed to those whose rights have been infringed to make a written complaint. He stressed that the right to health is a “fundamental” one.
  • ForMin Aurescu, at informal meeting of EU Foreign ministers; main topic – the transatlantic relationship: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, will participate, on Monday, in the informal meeting of the heads of diplomacies from the member states of the European Union, held by video-conference system, on transatlantic relations, with the participation of the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
  • World Blood Donor Day – HealthMin Tataru: Thorough reorganization of blood transfusion services, needed in Romania: The Minister of Health, Nelu Tataru, underlined, in a message sent on the World Blood Donor Day, that a “fundamental reorganization” and a change in legislation are needed in the blood transfusion service.
  • PM Orban: Ring road projects can be transferred to city halls, if they have technical documentation approved by CNAIR: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated, on Friday, on the construction site in Biharia, that several ring roads projects will be transferred to the city halls if they have the technical-economic documentations approved by the National Company for Road Infrastructure Administration (CNAIR).

 

Impact on the economy

 

  • Retailers protest against “unfair” mall owners by remaining closed in Romania: The members of the Romanian Retail Employers’ Organization (RORETAIL) will not resume activity after June 15, as allowed by law, in the shopping centers that behaved “unfairly” during the lockdown by charging full rent. For instance, over one-third of the Benvenuti shoe stores will remain closed, Ziarul Financiar reported.
  • Approximately one million jobless in Romania due to COVID-19: The number of jobless people in Romania, due to the novel coronavirus, is about one million, taking into account the employment contracts suspended and terminated at the end of May, a press release of the National Confederation for Women Entrepreneurship (CONAF) reads on Monday.
  • Foreign direct investment amounted to negative net value of 454 mln euros in first four months: Foreign direct investment totaled a negative net value of 454 million euros in the first four months, compared to 2.161 billion euros in the same period in 2019, according to data from the National Bank of Romania (BNR) sent to AGERPRES on Monday.
  • Romania’s internet and data traffic 26 pct up during state of emergency: Romania’s internet and data traffic during the state of emergency was on average 26 percent higher compared to the 60 days before the imposition of the restrictions, shows data of the National Communications Administration and Regulation Authority (ANCOM) released on Monday.
  • Turnover in commerce with vehicles and motorcycles drops 14.7 pct in first 4 months: The volume of turnover in vehicle and motorcycle commerce has dropped as gross series by 14.7 pct in the first four months of the current year, compared to the similar period of 2019, the volume of turnover for market services rendered to the population also dropping by 25.4 pct, according to data published on Monday by the National Statistics Institute (INS). Romania has the lowest motorization rate among the European Union countries, with 332 passenger cars per thousand inhabitants as of 2018, according to data published by the European Statistical Office – Eurostat.
  • Romanian Lottery offices reopen with 15 June, first draws to be on 21 June: The Romanian Lottery’s offices reopen on Monday, 15 June, starting with 14:00 hrs, and the first draws will take place on Sunday, 21 June.
  • Nuclearelectrica BoD mandated to terminate negotiations with China’s CGN for Cernavoda Units 3 and 4: The Board of Directors of the National Company Nuclearelectrica SA (SNN) was mandated to initiate procedures for the termination of negotiations with China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), as well as of the legal effects of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded in 2015 for the construction and operation of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4.
  • Almost 95 pct plunge for Romania’s airport traffic since beginning of state of emergency: Romania’s airport traffic has plunged by almost 95 percent since the declaration of the state of emergency on March 15, causing huge financial losses, said David Ciceo, president of the Romanian Airports Association (AAR) and general manager of the Cluj International Airport.
  • Cooperation agreed on financing the Romanian agriculture and local farmers: Eximbank and Agricover Credit IFN have agreed to extend and supplement the loan agreement existing between the two parties in order to support the necessary resources for developing new financial products and services for the Romanian farmers.
  • IKEA has decided not to use the money from the budget awarded as technical unemployment. Finance Minister Citu congratulates it: Ikea Romania announced the authorities in Bucharest about the intention of not using the amount of RON 858,504 needed to pay technical unemployment for the period of March 17 – June 12, given that the company’s results were better than expected, Finance Minister Finance, Florin Cîţu, minister wrote on Monday on his Facebook page, quoted by Agerpres. “Congratulations IKEA!” Florin Cîţu said.
  • The European Commission has launched the ReOpen EU website. The platform contains useful information on the safe resumption of tourism in Europe: The Commission launched the “ReOpen EU” website on Monday, dedicated to the safe resumption of travel and tourism across Europe. It will provide real-time information on borders and the availability of transport and tourism services in the Member States.
  • Chiriţoiu, Competition Council: After the lifting of the state of alert, we will resume the inspections, we will start with the small ones. By the end of the year, we will complete a series of ongoing investigations: The Competition Council did not launch new investigations during this period, but after the lifting of the state of alert, it will resume inspections and start with small inspections, said the president of the institution, Bogdan Chiritoiu , which specified that by the end of the year the institution will complete a series of ongoing investigations. “We worked very well during this period – the economic concentrations went normally, in the case of the investigations there were no delays. We have not held any hearings, but we intend to resume them in the coming weeks, moving them to an online format. We have also not launched any new investigations, but after the state of alert is lifted, we will resume inspections – we will start with small inspections so that we know under what conditions we can carry them out, before moving on to large cases. By the end of the year, we will complete a series of ongoing investigations,” said the President of the Competition Council in an online event.
  • Liberty Galati, the new owner of the steel plant, is at the forefront of the decarbonization plan of the GFG Alliance, but there will also be layoffs in the group controlled by the Gupta family: On the same day in which it announced an investment of 1.2 billion euros in Galati with the support of the Romanian state at the Liberty steel plant (formerly Sidex), so that it becomes neutral in terms of CO2 emissions, an investment doubled by a partnership with Romgaz to build a natural gas plant to power the steel plant, billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, owner GFG Alliance, of which Liberty Galati is a part, officially announced that the group aims at a global efficiency increase target of 30% in the coming years, which will also include staff reductions in some of the GFG Alliance operations, which he did not specify. The cost-cutting program is driven by a fall in demand for steel in some parts of the world, with percentages ranging from 20% to 40% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a factor that adds to the structural problems, including overproduction, which the global steel market was facing already.