COVID-19 The number of new Covid-19
cases in Romania is growing. Last week, the total number of infections was almost two-thirds higher
than in the previous week. On Monday 137 new cases were reported out of 12,600
tests. The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals stays at over 400, with
the number of patients in ICUs also slightly on the rise in recent days. Five
new COVID-related deaths have also been reported. In spite of the warnings
regarding an imminent new wave of infections, the vaccination rate dropped
slightly last week. Romania has only now managed to get 5 million people vaccinated,
a target originally set for early June.
ATTACK Romania firmly condemns and describes as utterly unacceptable last Thursday’s drone attack on the oil tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman, which killed 2 people, including the ship’s Romanian captain, the foreign ministry says in a news release. According to the ministry, given that information presented by Romania’s international partners indicates that the attack was deliberate and was coordinated from Iran, Romania requests the Iranian authorities to provide explanations regarding the incident. Iran’s ambassador to Bucharest was invited to an emergency discussion at the ministry. Meanwhile, the US and UK announced they were joining Israel and preparing a quick and coordinated response. Tehran in turn denies the accusations, which it dismisses as ungrounded.
COMMEMORATION The 2nd of August is National Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania, marked since 2020. The Romanian Foreign Ministry pays tribute to the Roma Holocaust victims and emphasizes that the suffering of the Roma in Nazi concentration camps during WWII was for a long time unknown to the general public, which helped propagate prejudice against this community. According to the final report of the International Committee Studying the Holocaust in Romania, around 11,000 Roma ethnics died, out of the nearly 25,000 deported in Transdniester, a Russian-speaking breakaway region in today’s Republic of Moldova. Also, on 2 August 1944, around 3,000 Roma were killed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. A total of 500,000 ethnic Roma were killed in Europe during the Holocaust.
WILDFIRES Entire sections of Mediterranean and Aegean Sea resorts are being evacuated and thousands of hectares of vegetation are burning in the south of Europe, from Italy to Turkey. Firefighters have been struggling to contain the wildfires for nearly a week, but temperatures of over 42 degrees Celsius and strong wind are making the intervention particularly difficult. Eight people died in Turkey, where an entire neighbourhood in the high-end resort of Bodrum has been evacuated. In Greece as well, the north-west of the Peloponnese peninsula, near the town of Patras, is in the grips of wildfires, and so are the regions Sicily, Puglia, Calabria, Lazio and Campania in Italy.
CANOE The Romanians Cătălin Chirilă and Victor Mihalachi have today qualified into the semi-finals of the canoeing 1,000m doubles race at the Tokyo Olympics, after coming in third in the quarter-finals. Cătălin Chirilă and Victor Mihalachi won the bronze medal in this year’s European Championships in Poznan, while Mihalachi also won 2 world championships in this event, in 2010 and 2014. Over the years, kayaking and canoeing have brought Romania 34 Olympic medals, 10 of them gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze. However, Romanian athletes last won an Olympic medal in Sydney, 21 years ago. (tr. A.M. Popescu)