COVID - 19
The COVID-19 outbreak, which emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year, has spread across the globe, reaching all continents. Hence, this week, the WHO has declared a pandemic. The total number of infections is on the rise, thousands of people have died, with the only somehow good news that the death rate stands at only 3%. Another good thing is that, in China, for a few days now, the number of newly acquired infections and deaths have been going down, likely to reach zero level soon. In Europe and the US, however, these figures are growing.
In Italy, the second most affected country in the world, after China, various psychological thresholds have already been exceeded: more than 15 thousand people infected and 1000 fatalities, as well as 2,500 new cases of infection in just one day. Life is under coronavirus quarantine in Italy, and only foods shops and pharmacies are open. Other European countries where the number of cases has increased dramatically are France and Spain, and a growing number of governments are deciding to declare state of emergency. Given that there is no concrete treatment against the coronavirus infection, specialists use various schemes to address the symptoms, but the most important things is isolation, as the most effective prophylactic measure.
The Romanian authorities in charge of managing the situation created by the new coronavirus in this country have assured the population that the necessary preventive measures have been taken in order to curb the negative effects of the outbreak. People are constantly reminded that, besides observing strict hygiene rules, there are other measures that must be respected: avoiding social contact and rendering working hours more flexible, as well as compulsory quarantine and self-isolation, if need be. President Klaus Iohannis has again made an appeal to the citizens to get information from official sources and has advised them to avoid spreading fake news and panic. Also, there is no need to stockpile and the rules and restrictions imposed by authorities to limit the spread of the virus must be observed, the president also said.
In another move, the head of state has shown that, given the current situation, there are economic sectors that suffer from severe losses and some even run the risk of losing their businesses. An inter-institutional working group was set up to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the Romanian economy, finances and budget. The first meeting of the group was held on Wednesday, chaired by the president himself. The meeting brought together the Central Bank Governor Mugur Isarescu, Government representatives and representatives of the business environment, whom the president asked to carefully and responsibly assess the economic impact of the crisis generated by the pandemic. On behalf of the Employers' Association, the President of the National Council of SMEs, Florin Jianu, pleaded for providing support to the companies in difficulty, in particular in tourism, transport and the automotive sector. The working group will analyze the measures proposed and will announced the adopted decisions next week.
Analysts draw attention to the fact that, unless quick measures are taken, the economy might be seriously damaged. Against this dramatic situation, Asian and European stocks, including the one in Bucharest, have recorded severe drops, especially given that the US president Donald Trump has decided the cancellation of all flights from Europe to the US, except for Great Britain, for a period of 30 days.
New moves on the Romanian political scene
Ludovic Orban’s new Government was endorsed by the Romanian Parliament on Saturday, with 286 votes out of 309. The government has the same membership as the one dismissed on February 5th by means of no-confidence motion. This time, even the initiators of the motion, the Social Democrats, gave a positive vote, against the background of the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis once again designated as Prime Minister the leader of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, stating that all parties promised they would help quickly install the new Executive. He held video consultations on Friday, given the COVID-19 crisis. Klaus Iohannis stated he got just one proposal for Prime Minister, namely Ludovic Orban.
We recall that the Liberal Government headed by the president of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, was dismissed by means of a no-confidence motion last month. The president designated Orban again to form the government, but he had to withdraw following a ruling of the Constitutional Court. Subsequently, the head of state designated Florin Citu, who also decided to withdraw right after the vote in Parliament.