A roundup of local and international news.
Vaccination. Romania has increased
its vaccination rate, with over 80,000 doses being administered on Thursday for
the second day in a row, while the total number of people given at least one
dose is on course to pass 2.5 million today. Also from today, people will be
able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine without an appointment in the centres where
this jab is available. On the other hand, number of ICU cases among Covid
patients is still high, at almost 1,500, but the overall number of hospital
admissions is decreasing, with almost 13,000 Covid patients currently receiving
hospital treatment. Almost 3,700 new infections were recorded today, as well as
137 new deaths.
Covid Europe. France became the
third country in Europe to pass 100,000 Covid-related deaths after the UK and
Italy. France has 30-40,000 new cases and 300 fatalities daily and 30,000 Covid
patients are in hospital, including almost 6,000 in severe condition. Even
though the situation remains complicated, the French authorities have begun
discussing relaxation measures from mid May. In Italy, prime minister Mario
Draghi has been having talks with the leaders of the ruling coalition on a
possible gradual reopening from May. In Madrid, the Spanish government has
ruled out extending the state of emergency beyond 9th May.
NATO. Romania will begin withdrawing
its troops from Afghanistan from 1st May, together with all its NATO
allies. Defence minister Nicolae Ciucă recalled that two decades ago, Romania
made the decision to join the coalition fighting terrorism and its strategic
allies in an international effort to combat an enemy that threatened citizens'
peace and security. Over these almost 20 years, tens of thousands of Romanian
military carried out various missions in the theatre of operations in
Afghanistan, having a significant contribution to improving the security situation
in the region. Romania lost 27 military in Afghanistan, while more than 200
were wounded. 649 Romanian military are currently deployed in that country as
part of the Resolute Support mission under the NATO aegis.
Support. The European Commission has
approved a government 500 million euro support scheme for Romanian companies in
the areas of tourism, accommodation and food services as well as travel
agencies hit by the Covid pandemic. In the form of direct aid, the scheme will
cover up to 20% of losses incurred last year compared with 2019 and will be
granted until 31st December 2021 at the latest. Support may benefit
over 7,300 firms.
5G. The government has approved a
bill on 5G communications that significantly boosts internet speed for mobile
devices. According to interior minister Lucian Bode, the bill called for
special attention because the new technology can also give rise to complex
threats to national security through access to sensitive information
structures. The US authorities warned that the advance of the Chinese giant
Huawei in this field poses a security risk owing to the involvement of the
Chinese state, so Romania and the US last year signed a memorandum on the
introduction of certain rules for the authorisation of 5G providers. The tender
to assign the 5G spectrum in Romania, which was already postponed twice, may be
held in the second part of the year.
Dacia cars. Sales of Dacia cars in Europe saw a 67% growth in March, while the car maker's market share increased from 2.4 to 2.5%, according to a report from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. The statistical data cover the European Union, the UK and the European Free Trade Association countries, namely Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Romanian Dacia manufacturer was taken over by the Renault group in 1999. Relaunched in 2004 with the Logan model, Dacia has since become an important player on the European car market.
Tennis. In tennis news, Romania faces
Italy today and tomorrow in Cluj Napoca, in north-western Romania, in the Billie
Jean King Cup World Group play-offs. Irina Bara is playing Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Mihaela Buzărnescu is playing
Martina Trevisan today. Bara will play Trevisan on Saturday, followed by Buzărnescu
vs Cocciaretto and the doubles match between Romania's Monica Niculescu and Elena-Gabriela
Ruse and Italy's Jasmine Paolini and Giulia Gatto-Monticone. Romania and Italy
have so far met three times, with Italy winning twice. Romania cannot count on
world no. 3 Simona Halep and world no. 63 Patricia Ţig, who are both injured,
while Italy's main player Camila Giorgi tested positive for Covid. The winner will play the qualifying matches for the
2022 edition of the World Group, while the runner-up will play in the
Europe/Africa zone Group 1.
Handball. Romania are facing North Macedonia on
Saturday in Bucharest in the first leg of the 2021 World Championship play-offs
in women's handball. The return match is due to take place on 21st
April in Skopje. Commentators say booking a place should not be a problem,
given that the number of participants grew to 32. The tournament will be hosted
by Spain. Europe has 50% of the available places. Romania is yet to miss a
women's World Championship, where it has won four medals over the years: gold
in 1962, silver in 1973 and 2005 and bronze in 2015. (CM)