A roundup of domestic and international news.
CORONAVIRUS ROMANIA - President Klaus Iohannis has announced the state of emergency in Romania will have to be extended by one month. The presidential decree will be signed at the beginning of next week. The decision was taken at the end of a meeting tackling the measures taken in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, a meeting also attended by the Prime Minister and several Government members. Iohannis has warned tht Romania is not at the peak of the epidemic yet and that the measures taken so far should not be relaxed, in spite of the fact that the number of infections is smaller than in other countries. The head of state has also said that several millions of protection masks will be made available this week for the medical staff, security forces and ordinary citizens. A medical team made up of 11 doctors and 6 nurses will travel to Italy to help the medical staff in Milan fight the coronavirus. Iohannis has again urged people to observe the rules in place. The death toll in Romania has reached 168. According to the latest data centralized by the Group for Strategic Communication, the total number of infections stands at 4,057 confirmed cases, of whom 406 people have recovered. Some 24,000 people are quarantined and another 106,000 are under medical monitoring in home isolation. 627 Romanian citizens abroad have tested positive for COVID-19 and 29 have died.
CORONABONDS - EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton of France and the EU Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni of Italy, have called on the 27 Member States to prove their solidarity by setting up a pan-European aid programme able to issue long-term bonds in response to the coronavirus crisis. Their plea was published in an article released by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Le Monde. At the same time, the President of France's National Assembly, Richard Ferrand and the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schauble, have also pleaded, in a press article, for more financial solidarity and integration in Europe, France Press reports. The two officials pointed out that all instruments at EU's disposal must be used to deal with the emergencies and to convey a message of solidarity across the EU. EU members have called on Germany and other states in northern Europe to back the so-called coronabonds, which are EU-backed debt instruments. The European Union has so far failed to agree on a plan to share out coronavirus-incurred debt in the form of special bonds as countries like Germany, Austria and the Netherlands are afraid to assume responsibility for other countries’ debts.
AGRICULTURE - Two Romanian counties, Calarasi and Ialomita, both in southeast, are among the EU's regions most specialized in agriculture, a recent Eurostat report reads. Ileia, on the western coast of Greece is the region most specialized in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the European Union, followed by Silistra in northeastern Bulgaria. In 2017, Caralasi accounted for 20.4% of the region's gross value added coming from agriculture.
PANDEMIC - Some 1,25 million people worldwide have been infected with coronavirus and 70,000 have died to the virus, France Press reports. Europe is the hardest hit so far, with Italy, Spain and France reporting half of the total number of deaths at global level. In Italy the number of people infected is going down every day. According to Radio Romania's correspondent in Rome, the authorities want to keep restrictions in place until May 9. In Spain the number of deaths has also gone down for the past four days, and the situation seems to improve in France as well, with the exception of Paris, where the number of infections continues to rise. Some patients are being transferred to hospitals in other regions of the country as well as abroad. The United States is also facing serious problems, the local death toll standing at nearly 10,000. The authorities say the epidemic has not reached its peak and speak of a nationwide impact similar to the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks. (EE)