COVID-19 In Romania, the total number of COVID-19 infections is now over 62,500, with 779 new cases reported on Monday and with the death toll standing at 2,729, of which 29 in the last 24 hours, according to the Strategic Communication Group. As many as 476 patients are in intensive care units, and over 30,311 have recovered. The largest numbers of SARS-CoV-2 cases are reported in Bucharest and in the counties of Suceava (north-east) and Arges (south). Healthcare experts once again urged citizens to observe protection rules. They warned that private parties or family gatherings do not eliminate infection risks even if they take place outdoors. Today, the National Public Health Institute decided to include Spain in the ”yellow” risk area. As of Tuesday, all those who travel from Spain to Romania must self-isolate for 14 days, and all flights from Spain to Romania are cancelled. Meanwhile, Italy has extended its self-isolation requirement for all people having stayed or transited Romania up to 14 days before arriving in Italy. The measure will be in place until September 7.
PANDEMIC Around the globe, some 20 million cases and 730,000 deaths have been confirmed so far. The US and Latin America are severely affected, in Asia the worst hit country is India, with over 43,000 deaths, while in Africa the worst situation is reported in South Africa. The Gulf region is also severely hit, with over 600,000 cases confirmed in Iran and Saudi Arabia alone.
INVESTIGATION The Bucharest Court of Appeals is today analysing the request of the Directorate Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism Offences (DIICOT) to reopen the investigation against senior gendarme officials with respect to the anti-government protests of August 10, 2018. Last week, the Court of Appeals postponed the request. On Tuesday the chief prosecutor of DIICOT, Giorgiana Hosu, dismissed the decision to close the case and ordered the recommencement of prosecution against the former officials of the Romanian Gendarme Corps. The case had been closed in late June, when the case prosecutor decided that there was neither evidence of an attempted coup, as gendarme officials had claimed at the time, nor evidence that the crackdown on the protests had been planned beforehand. The reopening of the case must be approved by a judge, and then the investigation will be taken over by the Military Prosecutor’s Office. The former gendarme chiefs will be probed into, among others, for abuse of office and improper participation in misrepresentation, abusive conduct and fraud.
DEFICIT Romania’s trade deficit for the first 6 months of the year stands at 8.665 billion euros, up 935.7 million euros since the level reported for the first half of 2019, the National Statistics Institute announced on Monday. Between January 1 and June 30, Romania’s exports totaled 28.590 billion euros, and imports 37.255 billion euros. During the same period, exports dropped by 18.1%, while imports went down 12.6%, compared to the corresponding period of 2019.
LEBANON Nearly one week after the devastating blast in Beirut, which killed 158 people and injured 6,000, the international community put together an emergency aid package of nearly 253 million euros for Lebanon, and promised it would reach the Lebanese people directly. The money was pledged at a virtual donor conference hosted by France. An investigation is underway to clarify the causes of the disaster, and leaders around the world have asked for a transparent inquiry. Meanwhile, in Beirut, protests are growing, having already led to the resignation of 2 cabinet ministers. For 2 days in a row, protesters demanded the government should step down, and accused politicians of incompetence and corruption. Clashes have been reported between the protesters and the police, with 250 people wounded and 65 hospitalised according to the Lebanese Red Cross. One policeman was killed.
ELECTION The incumbent president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, won a new term in office with 80.23% of the votes cast in Sunday’s election, according to preliminary results. Viewed as Europe’s last dictator, Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994. Svetlana Tihanovskaia, a former English teacher turned Lukashenko’s main challenger in the presidential election, got 9.9% of the votes. The results were challenged by protesters who took to the streets on Sunday. Clashes with the police were reported, with at least one person dead and scores of others injured. (translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)