Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania reports more than 11,600 COVID-19 cases: Romania recorded 277 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 11,616 on April 28, at 13:00, the authorities announced. Of the confirmed cases, 3,404 patients were declared cured and discharged. Meanwhile, the death toll has risen to 650. A total of 243 Covid-19 patients are currently admitted to intensive care units. At a national level, 150,309 tests had been carried out by April 28.
- Blood plasma collection starts to treat COVID-19-infected patients: A blood plasma collection campaign for treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus started on Tuesday morning in Romania, and the first three plasma collections from COVID-19-cured donors took place at the Bucharest Blood Transfusion Centre. The Health Ministry (MS) says the plasma will be tested and after biological certification it will be made available to hospitals.
Political and regulatory
- Flights to several EU countries suspended until May 14, movement restrictions for seniors eased: The flights to several EU countries and the U.S. will remain suspended until May 14 while the movement restrictions for senior citizens have been eased, according to the tenth military ordinance announced by the Romanian Government on April 27. Thus people older than 65 can leave their homes between 7:00 and 11:00 and 19:00 and 22:00, to do the shopping, to take care of children, to tend to the needs of their pets or for individual sport activities. State airline Tarom extended the suspension of flights to these destinations until May 14 to comply with the new ordinance.
- Romania’s support program for SMEs successfully launched on second try. Over 2,800 firms apply in 1 hour: Romania’s Government successfully relaunched the IMM Invest platform on Tuesday morning, April 28, after a failed attempt on April 17, when the platform crashed due to the high traffic. In the meantime, cyber specialists of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the Special Telecommunications Service (STS) have worked together to rebuild the platform.
- Minister of Labor: After May 15, the state intends to bear part of the cost of wages for the affected companies: The government intends to replace, after May 15, the measure of supporting the technical unemployment with a measure of supporting part of the cost of wages for companies affected by pandemic, said on Tuesday, the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, Violeta Alexandru, on Adevărul Live.
- Romania to receive 200 ventilators from U.S. after talk between presidents, PM Orban says: Romania will receive 200 medical ventilators from the U.S. following this past weekend’s phone talk between president Klaus Iohannis and president Donal Trump, prime minister Ludovic Orban told Digi24.ro. “Two hundred ventilators will arrive from the U.S. following the discussion between president Trump and president Iohannis. […] We have another 200 ventilators contracted from South Korea. At the same time, we continue the efforts to manufacture ventilators in Romania. There are three projects taking place concomitantly. A U.S. company offered the blueprint under the condition to manufacture only for the needs of the hospitals. This company is one of the highest performing ones,” Orban told Digi24, quoted by News.ro. The PM argued that the country needed to be well prepared in the event of a second wave of the pandemic. According to his estimates, the country needs “at least” 2,000 such devices.
- FinMin Citu: Romania will emerge from this crisis with a changed economic structure, but more efficient: Romania’s economy will recover because measures have been taken from the outset to support production and our country will emerge from this crisis with a changed economic structure, both private and public, but more efficient and competitive, Finance Minister Florin Citu said. According to him, the budget execution for March shows that actions were taken in due time in order to support economy, money being “immediately” injected, namely 7.7 billion lei left in the economy by postponing the payment of some fiscal obligations by economic agents during the state of emergency, 3.17 billion lei additional VAT refunds, one billion lei increase in investment expenditures and one billion lei downpayments of national transitory aids in the vegetal and zootechnical sectors.
- PM Orban says some movement restrictions within localities to be eliminated as of 16 May: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday that, as of 16 May, “it is certain” that the restrictions regarding the movement within localities will be eliminated, however, he mentioned that the movement between localities will be made only with certain restrictions, which are to be established. The Prime Minister added that hotels and parks might be re-opened, with maintaining some social distancing rules, but restaurants and playgrounds will most likely remain closed. He mentioned that an analysis is currently conducted, together with the National Institute of Public Health and representatives of the Technical- Scientific Support Council regarding the epidemiological risk corresponding to every restriction which is to be lifted. The Prime Minister added that wearing masks will be compulsory in the enclosed public areas as long as needed, depending on the evolution of the spreading of the novel coronavirus in Romania, and that the Government makes efforts to ensure that masks are available in the stores for all Romanians.
- President Iohannis: Romania, to send medical team, protective materials to Republic of Moldova: Romania will send a team of physicians and medical staff as well as protective materials to the Republic of Moldova, on Monday announced president Klaus Iohannis, in a statement at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
- Romania’s ForMin Aurescu to attend three-way meeting with counterparts from Poland, Turkey: Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu will participate today, in a Romania-Poland-Turkey trilateral meeting with his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, held in a videoconference regime.
- Phone conversation between ForMin Aurescu, Reinslau on topic of Three Seas Initiative: Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu had, on Monday, a phone conversation with his Estonian counterpart, Urmas Reinsalu, at the request of the Estonian side, and the Three Seas Initiative was one of the topics approached by the two officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) informs.
- Over 700 Romanians abroad – registered so far to vote in parliamentary elections: The Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) states that until Monday, 11.00 hrs, 717 Romanian voters from abroad registered on the www.votstrainatate.ro portal to vote in this year’s parliamentary elections. Of these, 489 chose the vote by mail and 228 the one at the polling station.
- Head of RO emergency service: Lockdown restrictions might not be lifted on May 15 if coronavirus situation does not improve: If the coronavirus situation worsens in the coming days, the lockdown restrictions might not be lifted on May 15, Raed Arafat, the head of the Emergency Situations Department (DSU), told local TV station Antena 3. He insisted that people need to follow the lockdown rules until then. If a significant increase in the number of local Covid-19 cases occurs, impacting the healthcare system, the easing of the restrictions might be re-evaluated, he explained. If the situation on May 15 is a good one, then the easing of restrictions can start gradually.
- Agriculture Minister suggests solution for stores to sell Romanian products: Many farmers in Romania complain that despite the crisis Romanian products do not sell and they have overstocks of meat, dairy, vegetables or eggs. The Minister of Agriculture, Adrian Oros, proposes a solution so that all stores have Romanian products: people have to demand them and even go from store to store until they find them. He says that this way a part of the money will return to the budget and support pensions, healthcare and education.
- Marcel Ciolacu announces two simple motions to be filed against ministers Cîțu and Oroș: The interim president of PSD, Marcel Ciolacu, announced on Tuesday, after a meeting of the PSD leadership, that the Social Democrats will submit two simple motions against the Minister of Finance and Agriculture. Ciolacu also claims that the local authorities will run out of money at the beginning of the summer, because the government did not cover the expenses during the pandemic. The total expenditures would be of almost 500 million lei, while the government would have allocated only 17 million. PSD is preparing an amendment to allocate the necessary money, Ciolacu added. Two simple motions are to be submitted to the Parliament, one in the Chamber of Deputies and one in the Senate, against ministers Cîțu and Oroș. The motion against the Minister of Finance relates to the IMM Invest website, while the Minister of Agriculture is accused of not taking measures in regards to the drought and the grain exports.
Impact on the economy
- Romania’s public deficit triples in Q1 to 1.67% of GDP: Romania’s public deficit in the first quarter (Q1) more than tripled compared to the same period last year, reaching RON 18 billion (EUR 3.7 bln) or 1.67% of the projected GDP for this year. The deficit increased by 0.94% of GDP in March alone, according to data published on Monday, April 27, by the Finance Ministry.
- Ford Romania reopens the car plant in Craiova: Ford Romania will restart the plant in Craiova, on May 4, while taking measures to protect the employees.
- Top hotels and restaurants in Bucharest jump to help local hospitals: Radisson Blu and JW Marriott top hotels in Bucharest have joined the local initiatives aimed at helping local hospitals and the first-line personnel in the fight against COVID-19, delivering bed linen and warm meals, in addition to previous donations of personal protection equipment.
- Furniture group Mobexpert opens stores, factories to follow: Mobexpert Group, one of the biggest furniture retailers in Romania, reopened its standalone stores on Monday, April 27, after it has operated only online since March 19. The group will also reopen its furniture factories, four of them next week, and three others around mid-May.
- OMV Petrom shareholders get dividends despite plummeting oil prices: The shareholders of Romanian oil and gas group OMV Petrom approved the distribution of dividends in gross value of approximately RON 1.76 billion (EUR 360 million), representing 48% of the 2019 net profit.
- Major RO power company Hidroelectrica proposes shareholders EUR 260 mln dividends: Romanian state-controlled hydropower group Hidroelectrica convened shareholders on May 26 to approve the distribution of 90% of last year’s RON 1.39 billion (EUR 290 mln) profit as dividends. In related news, the Romanian minister of economy and energy Virgil Popescu said the planned initial public offering (IPO) of Hidroelectrica “depends on the market circumstances,” ZF reported.
- State borrows 1.594bn lei from banks on Monday: The Ministry of Public Finance (MFP) borrowed 1.594 billion lei from banks on Monday, through a benchmark government bond issue, with a residual maturity of 36 months, at a yield average of 3.84pct per year, according to data released by the National Bank of Romania (BNR).