COVID-19 In Romania, another 1,145 coronavirus infections were reported, taking the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic up to 61,768. More than 30,000 patients have recovered. The Strategic Communication Group announced that 458 patients are still in intensive care. The death toll of the pandemic in Romania is 2,700. Romania requested 10 million vaccine doses, when one is available, the health minister Nelu Tătaru announced. He added the vaccine will primarily be given to healthcare staff, to the elderly and people with previous conditions. Tǎtaru also warned that many cases are confirmed among tourists returning from their holidays, and reminded that the number of cases depends to a great extent on people’s compliance with face covering and distancing requirements. Apart from tourism, the health minister added, a number of other major risks have been identified, including business activities and regional commuting and transport. Tǎtaru expects a steady number of new cases rather than an increase, but warned that the situation depends entirely on people observing protection rules. Meanwhile, Italian authorities extended the 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 Meanwhile, in spite of international and local efforts, the covonavirus continues to spread. worldometers.info reports some 20 million cases worldwide, over 729,000 deaths, and at least 12.7 million patients recovered since the first case was reported in China 7 months ago. The worst hit country is the USA. Many countries are stepping up efforts to create a vaccine. Singapore is starting trials on 100 patients next week, in a first stage that would take until October. In Israel human trials will also begin soon. The US has recently increased investments to support a potential vaccine currently in the final stage of clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies around the world have signed contracts with countries like Canada, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands for experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
GOVERNMENT The interim Senate speaker Robert Cazanciuc presented in a press conference on Sunday the “black book” of the Liberal government, which will be the foundation for a no-confidence motion announced by the Social Democratic Party against Ludovic Orban’s cabinet. The largest opposition party in Romania says that under the Liberal government the healthcare situation is out of control, and the number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks proves that the government has failed to properly handle the epidemic. The Social Democrats also believe the Liberal government backed by the President of Romania has fumbled all economic recovery attempts, failing to properly implement any measure. According to the Social Democrats, these are the results of a government only interested in elections and in quick gains for party clients.
ECONOMY Romania will avoid technical recession and its economy will shrink by less than predicted by rating agencies, the European Commission, the IMF and the banking sector, thanks to a prompt and efficient package of economic policies, the Romanian finance minister Florin Cîţu says. In a Facebook post, he says the country’s economic recovery will begin in the 3rd quarter, which means positive economic growth in 2021. Florin Cîţu argues that the fiscal policy gave an “immediate, strong and, more importantly, targeted” response to the challenges entailed by the pandemic.
LEBANON The French president Emmanuel Macron has called for quick and effective action to ensure the international aid reaches the Lebanese people, in the wake of the massive explosion that ravaged Beirut. In a virtual international donor conference on Sunday, Macron also called on the Lebanese authorities to respond to the demands legitimately voiced by people in the streets with adequate political and economic reforms. The French official pleaded for an impartial, credible and independent inquiry into the causes of the disaster on August 4. Fifteen heads of state and government, including the US president Donald Trump, took part in the conference co-hosted by France and the UN and attended by representatives of some 30 countries and international organisations. Romania has already joined the international relief effort. Nearly 8 tonnes of medical materials and pharmaceuticals were donated and shipped on Saturday from Romania to Lebanon. At least 158 people died, 6,000 were injured and 300,000 lost their homes in Beirut when a warehouse storing more than 2,000 tonnes of amonium nitrate caught fire. The blast came amid the already unfolding COVID-19 crisis, a deep economic crisis and anti-governmental discontent among the Lebanese people. (Translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)