A roundup of the main stories in Romania today.
Coronavirus Romania. The number of coronavirus cases rises to 70 in
Romania, the authorities have announced. More than 2,000 people are in
quarantine and almost 1,400 in isolation at home. Six are cured. To prevent and
combat the spread of the virus, the authorities have closed down schools and
nursery schools until 22nd March and universities have suspended
classes until the end of the month. The distribution outside Romania of
medicine and materials used to combat the virus has been suspended for the next
six months, and cultural and entertainment activities in enclosed spaces and
involving more than 100 persons have also been suspended until the end of the
month. Romanian citizens arriving in Romania from or after travelling to Italy,
China, Iran, South Korea, Germany, France and Spain will be quarantined or
asked to isolate at home. Air travel has decreased considerably on Bucharest's
international airport, the biggest in Romania, by 20% in the terms of the
number of flights and more than 30% in terms of number of passengers. Romania's
president Klaus Iohannis has rejected the idea that some cities in Romania may
be quarantined and has advised citizens to get their information from official
sources only and be careful about spreading rumours and fake news. He says the
authorities in charge of managing the situation created by the new coronavirus
have taken the necessary measures on time, but warns that these measures must
be strictly respected by all Romanians.
Coronavirus world. There are now almost 135,000
cases and almost 5,000 deaths caused by coronavirus around the world. With
almost no new cases and deaths in China, the outbreak is spreading in Europe
and the United States. In Italy, the country with the biggest outbreak after
China, there are now more than 15,000 cases, with 2,500 new cases in one day.
The death toll has exceeded 1,000, and the whole of Italy is in lockdown. All
churches will be closed in Rome until 3rd April. The United States
will be banning entry to anyone who has travelled to the Schengen area in the
last 14 days for the next month. The European Union has condemned the measures,
saying they were taken unilaterally and without consultations.
Consultations. President Klaus Iohannis is today having talks with
parliamentary parties in a video call with a view to nominating a new prime
minister. This comes after the Liberal Florin Citu has stepped down as prime
minister designate. The president said his move showed political maturity in
the "complicated context" caused by the coronavirus. He called on Parliament to
invest a new government with full powers next week, that can fight the spread of
the virus and that has the levers to take the necessary measures. Citu's
decision came before an investiture vote in Parliament. We recall that the
Liberal government led by the leader of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic
Orban, was dismissed in a vote of no-confidence last month. The president again
nominated Orban for prime minister, but the Constitutional Court ruled against
Isolation. All members of the Permanent Bureau of the National Liberal
Party, currently in government, will be in isolation after a Liberal senator
tested positive for coronavirus. The announcement was made today by the interim
prime minister and leader of the party Ludovic Orban. He said all Liberal
senators will be asked to self-isolate.
Prosecution. The Prosecutor General's Office says it will take over the
investigations into cases of divulging confidential or non-public information.
The announcement comes after the media circulated the content of a decision of
the Department for Emergency Situations that created a state of panic and
confusion around the country, amid the spread of Covid-19 in Romania. The
material in question contained confidential information that was in the process
of being assessed and approved, while the interior ministry was hosting a
meeting of the support group for the management of highly contagious diseases. Prosecutors
say the decision had not been approved at the time it was made public. Another
case is related to a person infected with Covid-19 and now in hospital who did
not inform the authorities about travelling abroad and the destination. The
person in question did not isolate and has infected a number of people.
Religious denominations in Romania have taken measures to prevent the spread of
the new coronavirus. Priests have been recommended to ensure no more than 100
people are attending mass, in enclosed spaces. Services will be held outdoors
and broadcast through speakers or listened to online. The muftiate has also
temporarily suspended the Friday prayer at all Muslims sites in Romania.