COVID-19 On Tuesday 233 new SarsCov2 cases were reported in Romania, the largest number in 2 months. The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals remains over 400, with 60 of them in ICUs. Five COVID-related deaths were also reported. The number of new coronavirus cases in growing in Europe, whereas in Romania containment measures are more relaxed than in other countries, state secretary Raed Arafat said. Nonetheless, he emphasized, Romanians fail to observe them and have largely given up wearing face masks in public transport means. In spite of repeated warnings on an imminent new wave of infections, the vaccine rollout is also lagging. Romania has recently managed to reach 5 million people receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, a target originally set by the authorities for early June.
BUDGET In Bucharest, the Liberal PM Florin Cîţu announced a first draft of the mid-year state budget adjustment bill is ready and will be forwarded soon to the leaders of the right-of-centre ruling coalition. The prime minister also said he was still waiting for all ministers to report the budget execution for the first half of the year, and called for more responsibility in public spending in the next 6 months. In an internet post, Florin Cîţu reminded his cabinet members that they must reach all the budget targets undertaken at the beginning of this year.
TENSIONS Tensions between Israel, the UK and the US are deepening following the drone attack on an oil tanker managed by an Israeli businessman in the Arabian Sea, which killed a Romanian and a British crew members on July 29. Israel described the incident as a violation of international law. In Bucharest, the Foreign Ministry firmly condemned the attack and summoned the Iranian ambassador to an emergency meeting. Similar measures were also taken in London, where PM Boris Johnson said Iran must face the consequences. Britain and the US harshened their criticism of Iran, accusing it of being behind the attack. The government in Tehran invited the charges d’affaires with the embassies of the UK and Romania to talks, protesting the accusations against Iran.
HOLIDAYS 28% of the EU citizens cannot afford a one-week holiday away from home. An analysis of Eurostat data conducted by the European trade union confederation found that inequity in terms of access to holidays between people with incomes below 60% of average salary and those with incomes above this threshold has deepened in 16 member states over the past decade. Romania has the widest gap in this respect in the EU, according to the Cartel Alfa trade union federation.
VACCINE The European Union has reached a major goal of providing at least one dose of anti-coronavirus vaccine to 70% of the adults in the Union, but member states must step up vaccination rates in order to contain the quicker-spreading variants, the European Commission chief warned on Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen said that, apart from the first dose target being met, 57% of the EU adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 68% of the adults in the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have received their first dose, whereas 53.7% of the approximately 400 million adults in the 31 countries are fully vaccinated.
FOOTBALL The Romanian football champions CFR Cluj are playing at home today against the Swiss side Young Boys Bern, in the first leg of the 3rd preliminary round of the Champions League. The second leg is scheduled for August 10 in Switzerland. CFR Cluj qualified into the 3rd round after defeating Lincoln Red Imps FC of Gibraltar, while the Swiss champions beat Slovan Bratislava. Should it get past the Swiss opponents, CFR Cluj will take on the winner of the match pitting Ferencvaros Budapest against Slavia Prague in the Champions League play-offs, according to Monday’s draw in Nyon (Switzerland). (tr. A.M. Popescu)