Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • 165 new cases and 288 patients declared cured in 24 hours: The Romanian authorities have confirmed a total of 18,594 cases of coronavirus by Wednesday, May 27, according to the official daily report released at 13:00.  A total of 165 people tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and 288 patients were declared cured in the last 24 hours, the same report revealed. The total number of confirmed patients who have recovered from COVID-19 thus increased to 12,162. The death toll has also risen to 1,219. At this time, 198 confirmed patients are admitted to intensive care units. More than 397,500 tests were processed nationwide by May 27.
  • National COVID-19 testing in Romania follows samples from patients undergoing lab tests: Health Minister Nelu Tataru said on Tuesday evening that the national COVID-19 testing in Romania will be performed on samples with residual serum of patients who come to the laboratories in the counties to undergo various testing. According to him, the national testing will show the state of health of the population and the future developments in the virus.
  • The development of the Romanian anti-COVID vaccine moves to the Cantacuzino Institute: The OncoGen Center in Timișoara announces in a message on Facebook that it has signed a partnership with the “Cantacuzino” National Institute for Medical-Military Research & Development to create a possible coronavirus vaccine.

 

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Romanians could return to an “almost normal” life in about two months, health minister says: Romanians will be able to return to a “quasi-normal” life in late July-early August, but they will still have to practice social distancing, health minister Nelu Tataru said on Tuesday evening, May 26, local News.ro reported.
  • President: ‘If we remain alert and responsible, more restrictions will be soon lifted’: President Klaus Iohannis said after the CSAT meeting at Cotroceni on Wednesday that more restrictions could be lifted if we maintain our vigilance and responsibility. “The number of infections remains pretty constant, which means the trend is flattening. We’ll get over this stage, too if we still are vigilant and responsible. If we wear facemasks, keep the hygiene and maintain social distancing the number of infections will decrease, so we’ll be able to lift further restrictions as soon as possible”, the Romanian head of state explained.
  • Romania’s PM Orban reportedly criticized by own party: Romanian prime minister Ludovic Orban has been facing increasing criticism from a faction within his party – the National Liberal Party (PNL), Adevarul daily reported quoting sources familiar to the matter. Some Liberals even argue that PM Orban and his team of ministers should be reshuffled. The Liberal leaders and president Klaus Iohannis reportedly discussed this during a meeting on May 26. The dissident faction argues that “fresh air” is needed in the Government, which requires an economic recovery program and a profound reform of the central and local administration, having at its core the digitalization and easier communication with citizens. The supporters of this current, grouped around the MEP Rares Bogdan, consider that the Orban Government has been hesitating during this period, and hasn’t come up with a clear strategy for a national development project. Talks about a possible Government reshuffle have intensified lately and even some Liberal leaders admitted publicly the existence of such talks. Leader of the Liberal Deputies Florin Roman however denied such rumors: “PNL got all its engines running from this meeting, it has a strong team, united and consolidated around Ludovic Orban. It was not a tense meeting and there were no knives on the table, as some suggested, although it’s true that we had a coffee and still water! We haven’t tackled, even by far, the idea of a reshuffle, for we are very pleased with the manner in which the Liberal ministers reacted to this difficult period so that nobody needs to leave and nobody needs to come, and the ministers will continue to do their job as best as possible,” said Florin Roman, on his Facebook page. He claimed that “in a couple of days,” the Liberal government will present an ample program of economic recovery, based on investments and massive support for the private sector.”
  • Gov’t set to finalise state of emergency report by end-week: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Wednesday asked the ministers to submit “as soon as possible” the reports on the fields under their coordination related to the measures adopted during the state of emergency, so that a final document on the way the government acted may be finalised by the weekend and then submitted to Parliament.
  • Romania’s education minister says there’s no way national exams will be canceled: Romania’s education minister Monica Anisie says that canceling the national examinations is not even a theoretical option. Her reaction comes after a newly established “students’ movement” has asked the authorities to consider canceling the Baccalaureate and National Evaluation this year due to safety risks related to COVID-19. “We don’t consider even theoretically the option to cancel the exams, as there has never existed an intention to freeze the school year,” the education minister told local education portal Educatieprivata.ro.
  • Iohannis: In 2021, Romanian Army will participate with 1,940 servicemen and civilians in missions abroad: In 2021, the Romanian Army will participate with 1,940 servicemen and civilians in missions and operations outside the Romanian territory, 436 fewer than this year, said, on Wednesday President Klaus Iohannis, in a press statement held at the end of the meeting of the Supreme Council for the Country’s Defence (CSAT). He added that the Program regarding the transformation, development and acquisitions of the Romanian Army was also approved in the CSAT meeting up to the year 2026 and the future. “Without a strong army, a state has no international and strategic credibility. The important resources destined for the acquisitions of the Romanian Army make possible the fulfillment of national defence capabilities within the collective defence system of NATO and, at the same time, the coherent multi-annual programs can offer to the Romanian industry the chance for relaunch, especially by institutional cooperation with specialty companies of our allies,” Iohannis also said.
  • Iohannis says citizen should be final beneficiary of public national security policies: President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that the main item on the agenda of the meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) was the analysis of the new National Defence Strategy for the years 2020-2024. “Public policies in the field of national security will be designed and implemented with the citizen as the final beneficiary, because all Romanians must feel that they live in a safe environment and trust that the public institutions protect them,” Iohannis said.
  • Government will prolong support measures for domains that continue to be affected by restrictions: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated that the Government wants to maintain until June 1 all the support measures granted during the state of emergency, and, from this date, will prolong them for “those domains that continue to be affected by restrictions, among them the entertainment industry.” The head of the Executive consulted on Tuesday with representatives of the music industry regarding government support measures for the creative industries and about the conditions to resume activity when the epidemiological situation allows for it.
  • IntMin Vela: Virus doesn’t choose between PNL and PSD, Romanians’ health must concern us: The virus does not choose between left and right, between the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), on Tuesday said the Interior Minister, Marcel Vela, at the debate of the simple motion filed against him, adding that it was necessary, during this period, for certain decisions to be made “in fractions of a second”, because the health of Romanians depended on them. The motion has passed.
  • Draft emergency ordinance establishing some active measures after 1 June, at first reading in Gov’t meeting: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban showed on Wednesday, at the beginning of the Government meeting, that the draft emergency ordinance establishing some active measures after 1 June will get the first reading “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.” The clarifications came after the Labour Minister representative mentioned that the bill has been drafted, but the social partners made numerous proposals related to it. According to a draft emergency ordinance obtained by Profit.ro which has not been officially passed or announced: from 1 June 2020, employees who have received the technical unemployment benefit, supported by the state budget to a degree of 75%, and who return to work following the resumption of activity by their employers, will benefit, for 3 months, from the payment from the budget of 41.5% of the base salary corresponding to the job occupied. From the same date, employers who hire, until the end of the year, for an indefinite period, full time, persons over 50 years of age and young people dismissed during the state of emergency or state of alert, will receive monthly, for a period of 12 months, for each employed person an amount of RON 2,500.
  • Law on tax exemption in case of the use of groundwater for irrigation, promulgated by president Iohannis: President Klaus Iohannis promulgated, on Tuesday, the law to supplement Art. 9 of the Water Law 107/1996, which provides that the use of groundwater for irrigation shall be exempted from the specific fee for the state of emergency period and for another six months.
  • President promulgates law on tax exemption of buildings where family medicine offices operate: President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday has promulgated the Law for the amendment of Art. 456 para (1) letter h) of Law 227/2015 on the Fiscal Code according to which the buildings in which the family medicine offices operate are exempt from the tax on real estate.
  • The Senate reinstates the ban on the export of agricultural products: The Senate adopted, on Wednesday, a bill, initiated by PSD Senator Șerban Nicolae, which prohibits the export from the country, for commercial purposes, of cereals and products resulting from their processing, until the new harvest. At the same time, the project provides for a ban on the export of logs, round wood, timber for 10 years. The bill still has to be passed by the Deputies Chamber and promulgated by the President before coming into force.
  • The government has extended the deadline by which tax obligations owed from the state of emergency can be paid without accessories: The government has extended until June 25 the deadline by which the unpaid tax obligations from the state of emergency and 30 days later, are not considered overdue and no interest and penalties are accrued for them. The deadline for foreclosure procedures has been similarly extended.
  • Driver school validityextended with the duration of the state of emergency and state of alert by Government Decision.
  • CCR ruled that the law governing online courses is unconstitutional: the Constitutional Court admitted the unconstitutionality exemption raised by President Klaus Iohannis on the law amending the Education Law and establishing that pre-university and university education activities can also take place online, finding that the law is unconstitutional overall.
  • ALDE leader fined for calling President Iohannis “Fuhrer”: The National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD) has fined the chairman of ALDE, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu for calling President Klaus Iohannis “Fuhrer” in a previous Facebook post.

 

Impact on the economy

  • Almost two thirds of Romania’s companies didn’t cut employees costs during emergency state (survey): Almost two thirds (65 percent) of Romania’s companies didn’t implement measures to cut back costs with employees during the two months of the state of emergency, the data included in the PwC Romania HR Barometer and published on Wednesday informs.
  • Romania to receive 33 billion euros from the EU, part of the gigantic 750 billion euro plan announced by the EC: European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday unveiled an economic recovery fund worth 750 billion euros, an exceptional aid plan, long awaited by EU member states affected by the covid-19 pandemic, reports AFP, quoted by News.ro. If accepted, this plan will be the largest economic recovery plan in the E.U.’s history. Romania will receive EUR 33 billion out of the European Commission’s proposed EUR 750 billion Recovery Plan to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, Romanian MEP Siegfried Muresan has announced today.
  • Media submit 900 applications for coronavirus info campaign, as deadline likely to extend: Head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery Ionel Danca told a government meeting on Wednesday that approximately 900 applications were registered from media providers for participation in a public information campaign on healthcare protection rules amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary measures for the resumption of activities in the social and economic field, proposing an amendment to Emergency Ordinance 63 to include a 10-day time to clarify the submitted documents.  Prime Minister Ludovic Orban agreed, provided that the signing of contracts begins during this time in order to carry out the campaign.
  • Romanian electro-IT retailer teams up with Glovo delivery platform: Romanian electro-IT online retailer evoMAG announced that it entered a partnership with the app-based delivery platform Glovo, one of the leading fast delivery services in Romania. The retailer’s customers can thus receive the products ordered in less than an hour, without having to visit the showroom.
  • Romanian construction materials group projects robust growth for H1: TeraPlast Group, the largest Romanian manufacturer of construction materials, estimates a turnover of over RON 470 million (nearly EUR 100 mln) in the first half of the year (H1), 15% higher compared to the first half of 2019. Data reported by the company implies 11% expected increase in sales for the second quarter of the year (Q2).
  • RO energy-intensive companies to get EUR 291 mln state aid: Some 170 Romanian electricity-intensive companies will get state aid worth around EUR 291 million, related to their electricity consumption in 2019-2020, Economica.net reported after consulting official documents. The grants will offset the costs of CO2 emissions, included in the price of electricity paid by large industrial consumers, under the same model applied in other EU countries. The amounts provided as state aid will be financed from the sale of the surplus of CO2 emission certificates by the Romanian state, amounting to about EUR 1 billion.
  • Romania’s top football league to resume season in mid-June: Matches in Liga 1, Romania’s top football league, could resume in the June 13-14 weekend, but without spectators, sports minister Ionut Stroe said on Tuesday, May 26.
  • Co-working spaces reopen in Bucharest, but with safety precautions: The co-working spaces in Bucharest have started to reopen after the coronavirus crisis, but both members and visitors have to respect several safety measures. For example, they have to wear masks and practice social distancing and disinfect their hands when using common areas such as the kitchen.
  • Romania’s famous Peles Castle will reopen for visitors next week: The Peles and Pelisor castles in Sinaia mountain resort, about 120 km north of Bucharest, will reopen for visitors on June 2.
  • Govt. promises lump sums to Romanian farmers hit by drought: Each Romanian farmer who incurred losses because of the drought will receive a lump sum, announced on Tuesday, May 26, the secretary of state in the ministry of agriculture (MADR), Emil Dumitru. Romania will notify the European Commission about this compensation scheme. President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania(CCIR), Mihai Daraban harshly criticized on Tuesday the lack of irrigation and pointed out that farmers must be offered a market.
  • Wind farm owner sues Romania at WB’s arbitrage court: Cyprus-based offshore EP Wind Project (Rom) Six Ltd, which owns the 80MW Chirnogeni wind farm in Dobrogea, commissioned in 2013, has filed a complaint against the Romanian state at the World Bank’s ICSID arbitration court, according to Profit.ro. The firm claims that Romania has breached the Energy Charter Treaty. Romania extended massive incentives to investors in renewable energy projects before 2008 to gradually phase them out by amending the legislation after the financial crisis. The decision to reduce the subsidies for the renewable energy sector prompted tensions between investors and the authorities.
  • Romania breaks agreement with Chinese constructor for nuke plant expansion: Romanian state-controlled nuclear energy producer Nuclearelectrica will begin talks to terminate the agreement signed with China General Nuclear Power (CGN) for the construction of reactors 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant. The company’s management formally asked for the shareholders’ approval to take further steps in this direction, according to a report on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. However, the Government has initiated the procedure and also has the power to decide this.
  • Cîțu: The guarantee ceiling at IMM Invest exceeded 1 billion lei: The ceiling of guarantees granted in the IMM Invest program had exceeded, on Wednesday, at 9.00, the threshold of 1 billion lei, announced the Minister of Public Finance, Florin Cîțu. According to him, until the same date, 1,441 loans were approved.
  • The army wants to launch the mega-investment of over 2 billion euros that will make Kogălniceanu one of the most important NATO bases in the region: The Ministry of National Defense has requested the Parliament’s approval for launching the necessary acquisition procedures for the project to extend, upgrade and modernize the infrastructure of the Kogălniceanu Military Air Base, an investment estimated at over 2 billion euros, which will transform the base into one of the most important NATO facilities in the region, according to an official document consulted by Profit.ro.