Over 400 deaths from coronavirus infections in Romania, out of more than 8,400 confirmed cases
COVID-19 The number of deaths from coronavirus infections reported in Romania exceeds 400, out of a total of 8,400 confirmed cases. Over 1,000 healthcare personnel tested positive for the Covid-19 so far, most of them in Suceava (north-east) and in Bucharest. Around 1,700 people recovered and have been discharged from hospitals. More than 60 Romanian nationals living abroad died so far from this disease. PM Ludovic Orban said that according to estimates the pandemic will peak between May 1st and 5th in Romania, and once again urged citizens not to leave their homes except for emergencies.
MEASURES The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, has once again called on citizens to comply with social distancing measures on Easter. He emphasised that Romania has not yet seen a peak of this epidemic, and that the only reasonable thing to do now is to stay away from our dear ones. The President also urged authorities to remain on alert. Over 36,000 police, gendarme, fire-fighters, border police and other Interior Ministry and Defence Ministry staff are working during Easter to ensure compliance with the military orders, to prevent and curb crime and to step in in case of emergencies.
EASTER For the Orthodox majority in Romania, as well as for Greek Catholic Christians, today is Holy Saturday, the day before the Resurrection of Christ. This year believers will not be able to attend the Easter Mass, because of the measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, but they will be able to watch the midnight service on the media. The Easter light will be brought from Jerusalem in a ceremony held in special conditions, without the thousands of pilgrims that used to attend this service in the past. Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church wishes all Romanians, on this occasion, health and pace, joy and hope. “Our faith in the Resurrection helps us not to lose hope in the face of adversity, but to ask for Christ’s help with even more fervour”, the Patriarch said in his Easter homily.
FINANCIAL Fitch financial rating agency revised Romania’s rating outlook from stable to negative, against the background of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on public finances in the coming period, the Ministry for Public Finances announced. The agency said the revision was necessary, given the poor fiscal management in previous years. The Finance Minister Florin Cîţu said in the forthcoming period the ministry will focus on implementing tax and budget measures aimed at mitigating the negative effects of the pandemic and on measures to revitalise the Romanian economy. The main elements able to help improve the country rating are stabilising the share of public debt in the GDP in the medium run, and sustainable improvement of the foreign debt level.
SME In Romania, a support programme for small and medium enterprises has been initiated. SMEs will benefit from loans without interest and banking fees, which will be covered by the government. The funds earmarked for the programme total 3.1 billion euros, for working capital and investments, and will be granted not only to companies affected by the corona crisis, but to all interested SMEs. The facility is aimed at revitalising the Romanian economy, supporting around 600,000 jobs in a first stage.
EU The European Parliament, convening in a special online session, approved 3 billion euros worth of emergency support for the healthcare sector. The money will be used for the procurement of emergency medical supplies, the transport of medical equipment and patients and support for the construction of field hospitals. Another measure approved on this occasion has to do with the transfer of funds and 100% European funding for containing the corona pandemic. Member states will thus be able to transfer money between various funds in order to meet emergency healthcare needs. MEPs also endorsed other measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the EU fisheries sector, which is heavily affected by the spread of the COVID-19.
PANDEMIC The official number of novel coronavirus infections in the world is over 2.2 million, with the death toll standing at nearly 155,000. The largest number of victims is reported in the US and Europe. The WHO estimated that, just like China, which announced another 1,290 deaths on Friday in Wuhan, many countries will have to update their death figures for the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the WHO, an accurate reporting of the number of cases and deaths is rather complicated given a number of factors, such as the isolation of patients who die at home alone and difficult bureaucratic procedures.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)