Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- 825 new Covid cases reported in Romania in the past 24hrs: 825 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Romania in the past 24 hours out of 6,460 conducted tests, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 79,330, according daily report releases by the Strategic Communication Group. Over the past 24 hours, 37 patients have died, bringing the death toll to 3,309. There are currently 7,410 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, of which 494 are in intensive care. At national level, a total of 1,659,135 tests were carried out by August 24. Over the weekend, there have been 1.189 new cases on Saturday (out of 22,991 tests) and 961 new cases on Sunday (out of 13,274 tests). Most new cases over the past 72 hours were registered in Bucharest (408), Prahova (216), Timis (165), Bacau (146), and notably a new spike in Iasi county (218).
- Indian workers at construction site in Bucharest infected with COVID-19: At least 32 Indian workers at a construction site in Bucharest tested positive for COVID-19. The workers were hired by a private company that has been developing a residential complex in southern Bucharest. They were living in barracks located next to the construction site. A total of 108 workers were living there and all were isolated, according to the local authorities, Hotnews.ro reported.
- Two more coronavirus cases at public broadcaster TVR, total number of infections – 13: Another two persons from the public broadcaster TVR have been detected as positive for COVID-19, the institution informs on Monday.
Political and regulatory
- Romania’s biggest opposition party elects new leadership in online congress: Romania’s biggest opposition party – the Social Democratic Party (PSD) – elected its new leadership in an online congress on Saturday, August 22. Marcel Ciolacu, the party’s interim president, was elected for a full mandate. He got over 1,300 votes from the party’s delegates. Meanwhile, his opponent, former finance minister Eugen Teodorovici, received only 91 votes. Ciolacu’s team was also validated for the other key positions in the party’s leadership. Former prime minister Sorin Grindeanu and Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea are the party’s first vice presidents. Paul Stanescu, a former deputy prime minister, is the party’s secretary general. Ciolacu’s team includes other former members of PSD’s leadership such as Vasile Dancu, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, Claudiu Manda, and former prime minister Mihai Tudose. However, Ciolacu emphasized in his speech that he wanted to break with the past, referring to the party’s former leaders who tried to “use PSD as a key to the doors of justice”. He also said that the PSD should become a modern party to meet the Romanians’ new expectations as society has changed. Ciolacu also said that PSD’s main goal at the upcoming elections is to remain the largest party in Romania. As for the censure motion recently tabled by the Social Democrats, the party’s secretary general Paul Stanescu has told an interview to Digi24 that PSD wants a left-wing technocrat Cabinet till elections if the motion passes, also revealing they already have a technocrat prime minister in mind, a left-wing personality, former PSD member, activating in the economic environment.
- RO deputy PM: There’s no way the Govt. can provide masks for all students and teachers: There’s absolutely no way that the Government can provide face masks for all students and teachers in Romania, deputy prime minister Raluca Turcan said in a press conference on August 22. She added that each school will have disinfectants and a reserve of masks for poor children or for those who forget their masks at home. Meanwhile, the National Council of Students says students need protective materials when they return to school to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. On June 25, a company controlled by Canadian investor Michael Topolinski won the tender organized by the Health Ministry for delivering 115 million face masks to poor families in Romania. Legal disputes delayed the procedure. On Sunday, August 23, prime minister Ludovic Orban said the Health Ministry would cancel the contract awarded to Topolinski’s firm if it didn’t start delivering the masks on Monday. Following the PM’s threats, Naguma Medical Supply, which won the tender for 115 million masks that will be distributed free of charge to Romanians in disadvantaged categories, announced on Monday, in a press release, that it delivered the first 10 million masks.
- PSD spokesperson suspended from office following foul language against journalists: PSD spokesperson Lucian Romascanu has been suspended from office on Friday after he had had a rampage against journalists at the beginning of the press conference following the party’s executive committee, not knowing the microphones were on. Later on, the PSD spokesperson posted apologies on Facebook, saying “his rampage was totally inappropriate” and arguing he lost temper amid mass migration of PSD mayors to PNL. Lucian Romașcan, a senator from Buzau, was minister of Culture in the Tudose Cabinet. He has been the PSD spokesperson since spring this year.
- Minister of Labor: The increased pensions will arrive augmented and on time: The increased pensions will arrive on time in September, and at the level of the Romanian Post the final details are being discussed, said Labor Minister Violeta Alexandru. She mentions that at the level of the leadership of the Romanian Post the last details are being ironed out.
- PM Orban: We have committed to build nearly 3,000 km of highways and expressways: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated on Saturday that the Government, through the National Company for Administrating Road Infrastructure (CNAIR), committed to build 3,000 km of highways and expressways. He mentioned that funds for investments will be allotted from the budget of the European Union in the 2021 – 2027 financial exercise and from the Resilience and Recuperation Program. The total budget allotted to Romania will be 80 billion euro.
- PM Orban: Romania will benefit from four billion euro European funds for investments in healthcare”: Romania will benefit from European funds worth over 4 billion euro, which will be destined for investments in healthcare, said, on Saturday, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban. Present in Arad, at the signing of European funds financing contracts in the realm of healthcare, the head of the Executive said that “investments need to target both the health infrastructure, as well as the equipping not only of hospitals, but the practices of family doctors and the practices of specialist doctors working in ERs.”
- Iohannis refers law on restitution of forest land to Constitutional Court: President Klaus Iohannis on Friday referred to the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) the bill on the amendment of Law No. 165/2013 on measures for the completion of the process of restitution, in kind or by equivalent, of buildings improperly taken over during the communist regime, as well as the amendment and completion of Law No. 46/2008 – Forest Code. The Silva Forestry Trade Union Federation recently warned that if this law is enforced, the Romanian state would lose about 5 pct of its forests.
- Former Culture Minister Daniel Breaz resigns from PSD: Former Minister of Culture Daniel Breaz has resigned on Friday from the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
- Orban: We asked for the possibility of resuming activity in closed spaces to be considered: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban says that he asked the Technical-Scientific Support Group on pandemic management to analyze the opportunity of the resumption of activity in closed spaces, such as restaurants. The PM made these statements on Monday. Orban said that during the week he will have a meeting with HoReCa representatives and a decision will be made.
- PM Orban, regarding censure motion: We will discuss individually with all MPs, except PSD: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL), stated that the Liberals will discuss “individually” with all MPs on the topic of the censure motion in order to present their point of view, emphasizing that, politically, “we have nothing to discuss with PSD [Social Democratic Party]”. He added: “To come and submit a motion of censure three months before the elections seems to me like a gesture lacking responsibility, a politician’s gesture.” “I again warn PSD to not mock democracy, to not mock Romania and to stop the motion procedure until the decision of the Constitutional Court,” Orban said.
Impact on the economy
- Hidroelectrica buys COVID-19 tests for its employees for the next three years: Hidroelectrica, the largest electricity producer in the country, intends to buy real-time PCR tests for all its employees for the next three years – up to 10,000 tests.
- Romanian fast-food chain Spartan continues expansion: Romanian fast-food restaurant chain Spartan opened two new units on August 20, in Targoviste and Cluj-Napoca. The restaurant in Targoviste is located in the newly-opened Dambovita Mall while the one in Cluj-Napoca is a street restaurant in franchise.
- Italian group Enel invests EUR 100 mln in electricity distribution networks in Romania: The three electricity distribution subsidiaries owned by Italian group Enel in Romania will invest RON 483 million (EUR 100 mln) this year in modernizing the electricity network in Bucharest and in the ten counties where they operate.
- Large Romanian power producer plans EUR 1.45 bln investments by 2026: Complexul Energetic Oltenia (CEO), the second-largest electricity producer in Romania, will send to the European Commission (EC) a restructuring plan that includes investments worth RON 7 billion (EUR 1.45 bln) by 2026. The group aims to reduce its coal-based power production and gradually close its coal mines to make the transition to cleaner energy.
- Romanian shared mobility platform Citylink buys Moldovan ride-hailing service: Romanian shared mobility platform Citylink has acquired itaxi, Moldova’s first and largest online taxi booking service, via an all-equity deal.
- Milk market dominated by multinationals, raw milk imports increase by 57.4 pct in H1 (study): The production of milk products and imports have recorded increases in the first six months of the year, over the similar period of 2019, the milk market being dominated by multinational companies, show the results of a study conducted by the Tara Mea [My Country] Cooperative released on Monday. According to the quoted source, raw milk imports increase in the first six months (57.4 pct), reaching 72.212 tons, compared to 50,552 in the same period of 2019. In June 2020, imports stood at 9,473 tons, compared to 6,019 tons in June 2019.
- Orange announces the expansion of the 5G network throughout Bucharest: Orange Romania announces the expansion of the 5G network and places Bucharest in the top of European cities in terms of connectivity, offering 5G coverage for 100% of the capital’s population, according to a statement from the operator.