Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Romania adds 269 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, total nears 26,600: Romania recorded 269 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours (down from 325 on Saturday and 291 on Sunday), pushing the total to 26,582 on Monday, June 29, the authorities announced in the report released at 13:00. Of the confirmed cases, 18,912 patients have recovered. At the same time, 22 Covid-19 patients died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,634 by June 29. Meanwhile, 210 patients were being treated in intensive care units, down from 217 on Sunday, June 28. At a national level, 699,688 tests were carried out by June 29.
  • Two employees of Romanian Embassy in Kazakhstan and General Consulate in Cernauti, tested positive for novel coronavirus: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that an employee of the Romanian Embassy in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, and one employee of the General Consulate of Romania in Cernauti, Ukraine, have tested positive for COVID-19, their health status being good.

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Authorities ponder travel restrictions for certain localities if situation deteriorates: The authorities are taking into account restricting travel in certain localities if the coronavirus-related situation deteriorates, health minister Nelu Tătaru told local television station Digi 24 on Sunday, June 28. The minister said the authorities were looking at Prahova Valley and the seaside, both popular tourism spots, because “the rules are least followed there.” He argued that an analysis concerning tourism in Prahova Valley and the seaside was needed because people from all over the country vacation there and, afterward, return and spread the virus in other localities. The minister said that the daily report on Sunday shows there is “a 4% infection rate”, and “there is an increase spread in the community”. Health minister added that Romania has 4,000 beds in intensive care, with 3,000 of them “fully equipped”.
  • PM Orban: No other restrictions lifted as of July 1: Asked about the next relaxation stage that would have included the potential re-opening of the restaurants, PM Ludovic Orban said on Monday that it could be delayed due to the existing evolution of the new COVID-19 cases. “The evolution of the pandemic in the past 10 days prompts us to be very cautious regarding the subsequent relaxation measures. The plan to lift further restrictions is gradual, every 15 days and an we need assessments to see how things have gone on“, the premier explained. Sources from the Government revealed that the specialist rejoined in the meeting of the technical COVID group had decided to lift no more restrictions as of July 1. A meeting of the National Council for Emergency Situations is scheduled this evening. At the same time, in terms of travel restrictions, PM Orban said that bans could be enforced only related to countries where the rate of infection for 15 days exceeds the 5 index. Moreover, the Romanian PM stated that it also depends on the travel bans agreed within the European Commission. Any potential decision on new relaxation measures would be announced on Wednesday.
  • Authorities fine Bucharest businesses, seaside events for not complying with coronavirus prevention norms: The Bucharest Police, the Public Health Department, and the National Authority for Consumer Protection have checked several businesses in the capital this past weekend to see if they complied with the norms set to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The raid, which took place on the night of Saturday, June 27, to Sunday, June 28, targeted 146 businesses in the capital. Police who checked in the past three days compliance with the state of alert regulations at terraces, bars, beaches, outdoor clubs, have issued over 443,000 lei worth of fines.
  • Romania’s Liberal Govt. to unveil 5-yr Recovery Plan on July 1: The Romanian Government of prime minister Ludovic Orban will unveil, on July 1, a Recovery Plan to stretch over the next five years, including public investments worth billions of euros. It is going to be, in fact, the ruling strategy of the Liberal Party (PNL), Hotnews.ro commented – pointing out that the term PM Orban’s cabinet will expire this autumn when parliamentary elections should take place. The Sovereign Fund and the public investments in infrastructure are among the elements that might be included in the Recovery Plan. Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday that the economic recovery program, following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be presented on Wednesday, and that, within a maximum of one month, the Government will adopt all the necessary normative acts for its implementation.
  • Former RO Social Democrat leader indicted for abuse of office: The prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate indicted former leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea for setting up an organized criminal group, G4media.ro reported. The current indictment is related to Tel Drum – a company allegedly used by a criminal group, including Dragnea, for siphoning public funds and funds from the European Union’s budget (a situation that would put the case under the jurisdiction of the EU Public Prosecutor’s Office headed by Laura Codruta Kovesi).
  • Orban says PNL would like single candidates in Bucharest local elections: National chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL) and Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday that he would like the right-wing parties to have single candidates for the district mayoralties in Bucharest, as well as for the General City Hall.
  • Electricity household prices to be cut by 1.89pct from July 1: Regulated electricity prices will decrease by an average of 1.89% between July 1 and December 31, 2020, and the market will be fully liberalised from January 1, 2021, according to a press statement released by the National Energy Regulation Authority of (ANRE) on Monday.
  • PM Orban: Government’s fundamental objective is to digitize ANAF: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday that the Government’s fundamental objective is to digitize the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF). “It is an assumed goal, it will be carried out as soon as possible. We have already taken a few steps and these steps will continue,” the prime minister assured. Orban specified that the emergency ordinance that established the obligation for public authorities and institutions to communicate online with citizens does not only target the state of emergency and the state of alert. The head of government also said that the absence of digitization was felt in the field of health during this period.
  • ForMin Aurescu – Azerbaijan counterpart have telephone conversation, discuss COVID-19 health crisis: Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu and his counterpart from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov had a telephone conversation on Monday upon the latter’s request, informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE). The Romanian Minister highlighted the potential for developing bilateral cooperation, based on the excellent political relations, in the line of economy, trade, transport and energy. He also pointed to the need to develop connectivity between Romania and the Republic of Azerbaijan, including through the implementation of projects with a regional impact, such as the Caspian Sea – Black Sea International Transport Route. Moreover, the two ministers discussed support to the Southern Gas Corridor, with Minister Bogdan Aurescu mentioning in this context the relevance of the BRUA regional project.
  • FinMin Citu: Success of SME Invest – undeniable; extended loans of 7.2bn lei: The success of SME Invest is undeniable, being accessed by 8,368 companies, and the volume of loans reached 7.2 billion lei, and represents 10.5% of the total stock of loans in lei for companies, the Minister of Finance, Florin Citu wrote on Monday on his Facebook page.
  • Finance Minister: Current economic crisis is worse than Great Crash of 1929: The current economic crisis is worse than the Great Crash of 1929 said, on Friday evening, the Minister of Public Finance, Florin Citu, at private broadcaster B1 TV. “We are going through the most difficult period for the economy in the past one hundred years. Firstly there hasn’t been a double crisis before, a health one and an economic one. It’s worse than in the economic crisis of 1929. It’s worse than during the Great Crash of 1929,” stated Florin Citu.
  • PM Orban: Without measure of isolation and quarantine, Romania would have been Italy squared: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Sunday evening that there is an attitude of relaxation and neglect of the danger posed by the pandemic, largely generated by positions taken by some “irresponsible” political leaders, who urged people not to respect the rules, mentioning at the same time that, if the measure of isolation and quarantine had not been taken, “Romania would have been Italy to the power of two”. The prime minister also spoke in the interview about the National Liberal Party (PNL)’s proposal to dismiss the Ombudsman, Renate Weber, whom he reproached the notifications addressed to the Constitutional Court, which “deprived the state authorities of the necessary tools to ensure compliance with the rules.” According to the prime minister, if PSD does not vote in Parliament for the dismissal of Renata Weber from the position of Ombudsman, then this party is also in solidarity with the latter’s actions, including the decision to refer to the Constitutional Court the law on taxation of special pensions.
  • Orban: I had no information according to which non-lawful procedures had been carried out at Unifarm: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Sunday evening that he had no information according to which non-lawful procedures had been carried out at Unifarm or that there had been suspicions of corruption, stressing that “the lame attempt of some people” to make a connection between the director of Unifarm and the Government on deeds of corruption “is a huge manipulation”. The prime minister claims that if someone made a mistake at Unifarm, then he must be punished. The prime minister also specified that Adrian Ionel was appointed director of the Unifarm company when Victor Ponta was the interim minister of Health.
  • Anniversary letter exchange between Aurescu-Pompeo at 140 anniversary of Romania-US diplomatic relations establishment: Secretary of State of the USA, Mike Pompeo, addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, an anniversary letter on the occasion of celebrating, in June, 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States. “Our friendship is dynamic and strong. I am assured we will continue to advance our cooperation on security, trade and investment, energy, cyber, and rule of law,” said Mike Pompeo.
  • Alexandru Rafila contradicts the WHO: asymptomatic patients are source of infection: Alexandru Rafila, president of the Romanian Society of Microbiology, contradicts the World Health Organization, of which he is part, as a representative of Romania. Rafila claims that asymptomatic patients are sources of coronavirus infection, although the WHO explained that asymptomatic patients rarely transmit the infection. Romania is the only country that forcibly hospitalizes asymptomatic patients.

 

Impact on the economy

 

  • Wizz Air adds eight international routes from Bucharest: Hungarian group Wizz Air, one of the biggest low-cost airlines in Europe, has added eight new routes from Bucharest. The carrier will fly from Bucharest to Cagliari (Sardegna/Italy), Copenhagen, Bergen (Norway), Hamburg, Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden, Memmingen (Germany), Santorini and Mykonos (Greece). With the eight new routes, Wizz Air now offers 61 routes to 20 countries from Bucharest.
  • Ioan Niculae restarts the Donau Chem chemical plant and becomes the country’s largest gas consumer: The Interagro Group, controlled by Ioan Niculae, reopens the second chemical unit and becomes the country’s largest gas consumer. The group will open two more chemical units this year. All units run on imported gas.
  • Romanian construction company wins two contracts worth EUR 280 mln: The construction companies controlled by Romanian businessman Dorinel Umbrarescu signed two contracts worth RON 1.35 billion (EUR 280 million) for the construction of two road segments: a segment of Transilvania Motorway and a segment of Craiova – Pitesti expressway, G4media.ro reported.
  • Danish investor takes over 100% stake in Romanian milling and bakery group: Danish group Givesco took over the entire Romanian milling and bakery group Sam Mills, where it had held a 50% stake since 2017, Profit.ro reported.
  • Bids for the construction of Bucharest’s “most modern emergency hospital” can be submitted until end-July: The bids for the construction of Saint Vasile cel Mare Hospital, in Bucharest’s District 1, can be submitted until July 30. More than 30 international companies have requested clarifications during the procedure, the District 1 City Hall announced, quoted by News.ro. The unit will be “the most modern emergency hospital in Bucharest,” District 1 mayor Dan Tudorache said. The cost of the project is estimated at EUR 500 million.
  • PwC: It’s unclear whether parent group will help local subsidiaries through crisis: It is not clear to what extent the parent groups will support the local subsidiaries cover their losses suffered during the lockdown period, said Ionut Simion, Country Managing Partner PwC Romania, as he introduced a report on transfer pricing. Three out of four Romanian subsidiaries of multinationals believe that the total revenues of the companies they represent will decrease by up to 25% in 2020, compared to 2019, as a result of the health crisis, according to the survey “Transfer Pricing Challenges during and post- COVID-19,” made by PwC Romania between April and May.
  • Online payments by Visa cards, up over 50pct in April: Online payments by Visa cards increased by more than 50pct in April 2020 compared to the same period of last year, given that the e-commerce sector in Romania registered a strong boom after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a company’s release.
  • Managers’ short-term forecast: Activity rise expected in construction and retail over June – August: Romanian managers expect an increase in construction and retail activity over June – August, they see the number of employees in these sectors growing moderately, and retail prices following an upward trend, reveals data released on Monday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). Net investments in new construction work have totalled, in the first quarter of this year, 9,847 billion RON (53.4 pct of total investments), increasing by 20.3 pct over the similar period of 2019, according to the data centralized by the National Institute for Statistics (INS).
  • Number of companies that suspended activity drops by nearly 38 pct at five months: The number of companies that suspended their activity has dropped, in the first five months in 2020, by 38.07 pct over the similar period of 2019, the number being 4,110, according to data published by the National Office of the Trade Register (ONRC). In May 2020, 787 companies suspended their activity.
  • Bucharest Stock Exchange loses over 4 billion RON in capitalization this week: The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) lost this week 4,128 billion RON in capitalization, around 2.9 pct, and the value of transactions in shares has recorded a decrease of 10.37 pct. According to data published by the BVB, consulted by AGERPRES, the stock market capitalization sat at 137,986 billion RON, in the June 22-26 period, from 142,114 billion RON the previous week.
  • Only 4 in 10 Romanian employees have vacation plans this year, survey says: Almost three quarters of the Romanian employees have not taken their annual leave this year, but 42% of those yet plan to apply for leave in the upcoming period, reads a BestJobs survey conducted during June 15-25. Over 80% of employees chose to stay in Romania and to spend some days off at the seaside or at the mountains (57.4%) or even at home (24.8%).
  • Banca Transilvania remains Romania’s largest bank by assets: Banca Transilvania maintained its leading position in the ranking of Romanian banks by assets at the end of 2019. The banks on the 2nd and 3rd places, are BCR owned by Erste Group and BRD part of Societe Generale group. Surprisingly, ING Bank went up to 4th place with RON 44.6 bln or EUR 9.33 bln (9.0% market share, up from 8.5% one year earlier).