Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Number of confirmed cases nears 12,000: More than 360 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Romania in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 11,978, according to the official report released on Wednesday, April 29, at 13:00. More than 3,500 confirmed patients were declared cured so far, the same report said. Meanwhile, the death toll has also risen to 675. A total of 247 COVID-19 patients are currently admitted to intensive care units. By April 29, almost 167,000 tests were processed nationwide.
  • Romania’s health minister expresses support for vaccination law, urges people to get vaccinated: Romania’s health minister Nelu Tataru said that “a vaccination law must exist” and urged the Romanians to get vaccinated. “The vaccination law must exist, both the vaccines in the national programs that we also did when we were children, as well as the vaccines that are currently voluntary and I urge everyone to do it,” Tataru said at local Digi24 news channel, according to News.ro. “We’ll have to manage both the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic. We have vaccines for the flu. I urge people at risk to get vaccinated. We can manage the flu epidemic at this time,” he added.
  • HealthMin Tataru: Civil management team to take over Suceava hospital from military management team: Health Minister Nelu Tataru on Tuesday stated that the military management team of the Suceava hospital will hand over to a civil team that is willing to take responsibility for the job and that the other hospitals too should have civil management teams before the state of emergency is over.

 

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Romania’s president: Lifting some restrictions doesn’t mean that life returns to normal after May 15: The fact that it is possible to relax specific measures after May 15 does not mean that we return to the normal life that we had before the epidemic, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday evening. The president had his first press conference since he decreed the state of emergency in the country. “There will still be many restrictions in force. We will not be able to meet in groups larger three. We will not be able, for quite a while, to go out to the restaurant or the mall. We will not be able to leave the locality immediately after May 15, unless we have a very serious reason. These things, of course, will still be detailed,” Iohannis explained. Most economic units and state institutions will have someone at the door who will measure the temperature of all those who go in, and not allow sick people in, according to the president. The president added that the relaxation measures would be implemented gradually and always based on the evolution of COVID-19 indicators. Responding to questions from journalists, Iohannis also pointed out that:
  • PM Orban: It’s too early to make announcements related to the tourist season: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Wednesday stated in Dragomiresti that no final decisions were made yet with respect to the July-August tourist season, but he said that, in his opinion, hotels and boarding houses could resume activity if they observe certain rules, while restaurants come with a higher epidemiological risk. The head of Executive underscored the risk is still high of spreading the coronavirus if restaurants reopen.Prime Minister Orban, accompanied by the Minister of Economy and the Minister of National Defence, on Wednesday paid a visit to a special products plant in Dragomiresti, Dambovita County, where equipment was already installed to produce medical masks.
  • Bill on autonomy of Szeklerland gets tacit approval in Chamber: A bill on the autonomy of the Szeklerland (proposed autonomous region with legal personality formed of Covasna, Harghita and historical region of Mures initiated by Hungarian minorities party UDMR) has passed the Chamber of Deputies by tacit approval and it will move on to the Senate, which is the decision-making body in this case. Although a second tacit approval, in the Senate, is not possible by law, almost all political parties reacted announcing to vote against it further in the Senate, including ALDE, Pro Romania and PSD. PNL and President Klaus Iohannis on the other hand had the most critical reactions seizing the opportunity to launch new attacks against the PSD by floating the idea of a deal between PSD and UDMR. Klaus Iohannis’ statement was in turn taxed by UDMR which requested apologies for inciting to hate speech among these local communities.  PSD explained that the date of the tacit approval coincided with the day in which online voting for MPs did not work after the Parliament suspended its activity due to a reported COVID case, deeming the president’s allegation as a lie. Interim Senate President Robert Cazanciuc convened the plenary meeting of this forum on Wednesday, at 14:00hrs, with the sole topic on the agenda being the draft law regarding the autonomy of the Szeklerland. The majority of votes were against the draft law and in favor of the rejection report. Noteworthy, during yesterday’s press conference President Klaus Iohannis also allocated a considerable portion of his speech to blaming the opposition for leaving empty coffers and promoting unsustainable populistic measures, in an attempt to boost PNL’s approval ratings. PSD President Marcel Ciolacu responded yesterday on Facebook saying that the main focus should not be political battles but to come up with a clear plan for reopening the economy.
  • HealthMin Tataru says Romania still aiming for coronavirus peak, but on gentle slope: Health Minister Nelu Tataru said on Tuesday that Romania is still headed for the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and expects the number of new cases to decrease “from one day to the next” for the next two weeks. He said that there are a few days off, May 1 for instance, and the time must be very well managed to prevent new outbreaks. He added that he hopes that for the next two weeks the number of new cases and deaths will decrease and that after the May 15 it will be possible to get to easing the lockdown.
  • ALDE’s Tariceanu: I hail reopening of hotels, boarding houses; restaurants need to ensure distance between tables: ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu hails the decision made by the authorities to gradually reopen hotels and boarding houses, but insists restaurants should be reopened gradually while ensuring the right distance between tables. According to the ALDE leader, measures such as placing the tables at a right distance, limiting the number of persons sitting at one table, banning groups higher than 6-8 persons, maintaining high hygiene measures in the kitchen, disinfecting periodically, “can make restaurants a place as safe as any other.”
  • Sources: the opening of barbershops and salons, dental offices, parks and street shops are also being considered after May 15, according to political sources
  • Senate passes bill making STS provider of electronic signature services for public administration: The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill designed to supplement the Law on electronic signatures by a new provision that makes the Special Telecommunications Service (STS) a provider of e-signature services for public administrations in Romania.

 

Impact on the economy

  • Romanian Government would ink economic recovery plan, but lacks financing: Romania’s Government is preparing an economic recovery plan, but must find the financial resources for this, prime minister Ludovic Orban said at Digi 24 TV channel on April 27, News.ro reported. He implied that Romania expects the European Union to go ahead with the issuing of joint Eurobonds. This scenario would allow the country to borrow money at a lower cost compared to the cost of sovereign borrowing, particularly after the outlook downgrade operated by the rating agencies. Until then, the resources that Romania has are rather scarce, and the Government has already used them, PM Orban implied.
  • BNR’s Lazea: Central banks acting as cleaning lady, tidying up after the governments’ party: The central banks have already been transformed into the cleaning lady who tidies up after the party thrown by the governments and states but which they didn’t pay for, chief economist of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) Valentin Lazea told a specialist video conference on Tuesday. Many small and medium-sized companies will disappear, undoubtedly, but a government is responsible for the health of each of its citizens, not for the survival of each SME or every enterprise, especially in a market economy, Valentin Lazea added.
  • Companies and citizens can postpone the payment of rent during a state of emergency and one month after it ends: The maximum value of the monthly rent for which deferral may be requested will be a maximum of 10,000 lei, for each location, for companies, and a maximum of 2,000 lei, for a single location, for individuals. The facility will be applied during the state of emergency and for another month after it for companies and citizens affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the rent will be reimbursed by the tax authority to the landlord. The latter will benefit from the tax exemption if he reduces his rent, according to a bill adopted on Wednesday, by a final vote in the Chamber of Deputies. In order to enter into force, the project must be promulgated by the head of state.
  • Parents will might be paid from the budget to stay at home with their children until the end of the school year: A parent will be entitled this year to days off, paid from the budget, for looking after the child, not only during the state of emergency, but until the end of the school year, stipulates a bill approved in the Chamber of Deputies, which  still has to be voted in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies and promulgated by the head of state before entering into force.
  • The Chamber of Deputies has adopted a bill amending the rules of operation of the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF) and brings unprecedented changes in the appointment and, in particular, to the dismissal of executive members of the ASF Council, i.e. the president, first vice president and vice presidents responsible for the three sectors (Insurance, Private Pensions and the Capital Market). The non-executives, however, four in number, remain untouched, which will give them increased power, through job stability. The bill is already in the Senate, which is the decision-making chamber, and has high chances of being passed.
  • Banca Transilvania and eMAG continue to get involved in the fight against COVID-19 and donate another 2 million lei
  • Wizz Air will require passengers to wear protective masks
  • Petrom: Fuel sales will fall by 45% in the second quarter of the year: Fuel sales will collapse in the second quarter of this year, amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, say officials of Petrom, the largest Romanian oil company.
  • Asus Romania: The announcement of the restrictions coincided with an explosion of laptop sales. By the end of March, our stock was zero
  • The Employers’ Association of the Software and Services Industry sent, at the request of the Romanian Government, a document containing three packages of digitalization measures to counteract the effects of the economic crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic and states that it is ready to contribute by involving a specialized working group, covering activities necessary for the implementation of the proposed measures.