Covid-19 Ro – 5,697 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 contamination have been registered in Romania in the last 24 hours, after 28,099 tests have been made at national level - the Strategic Communication Group informed on Thursday afternoon. In the same period, 107 infected people died, taking the total death toll to 13,969. 11,860 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in specialized health units, of whom 1,297 in intensive care. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 577,446 cases of people infected with the new coronavirus have been confirmed in Romania, of whom over 477 thousand have recovered. The number of Romanians abroad confirmed with the new coronavirus increased to 7,034, three more than the latest figure reported, with the number of deaths remaining at 127. President Klaus Iohannis convened a new working meeting to manage the COVID-19 epidemic, to be attended by the interim Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă and the main officials in the health domain. The health minister Nelu Tataru announced that the executive approved on Thursday the norms regarding the authorization, organization and functioning of vaccination centers against COVID-19. The document creates the legal framework for the involvement of the Defense and Interior Ministries in this campaign. Funds were also approved that are necessary for the organization and functioning of vaccination centers as well as additional funds for the Health Ministry, meant for the purchase of new medicines stocks and anti-COVID-19 treatments.
Rules – The National Committee for Emergency Situations on Thursday established a series of health protection rules for the organization of official events, parliamentary sessions, meetings, preparatory working meetings, as well as ceremonies commemorating the events of December 1989. At official ceremonies taking place indoors the participants are obliged to wear face masks and to keep physical distance of at least one meter. Also the organizers of the events have to ensure areas of four square meters for each person and to ventilate the rooms for at least 10 minutes every 2 hours. The first 3 rules also apply to official events held in open spaces where a maximum of 100 participants are allowed. Also on Thursday, the National Committee for Emergency Situations updated the list of countries and territories considered to have a high epidemiological risk. The people coming to Romania from these countries must be quarantined for 14 days, a period that can be shortened after the 3rd day based on a negative COVID-19 test. The list of so-called yellow zones includes the Republic of Moldova, the Netherlands, Cyprus and Turkey, with Italy having been eliminated. All in all, 37 states and territories are on the updated list of the Romanian authorities.
Donation – Germany has donated to Romania medical equipment for the intensive care units where COVID-19 patients are being treated. The equipment consists of 40 pulmonary ventilation devices intended for the treatment of patients suffering from moderate and severe forms. The equipment was transported to Bucharest by a Romanian air force aircraft. The same aircraft brought home 4 Romanian soldiers who had been wounded in October in a mission in Afghanistan and who were treated at a medical center in Germany. According to the Romanian Defense Ministry, they will be hospitalized for evaluation by a medical commission. Depending on the outcome of clinical and paraclinical investigations, the military will benefit from specialized medical treatments, psychological assistance and counseling and postoperative neuromotor recovery programs that are adapted and individualized.
Negotiations – In Romania, the negotiations between PNL, USR-PLUS Alliance and UDMR for the formation of a center-right governing coalition will continue on Friday, the leaders of the three parties have announced. In a joint statement, they said that all solutions were on the table and that each party expressed flexibility. The negotiations resumed on Thursday, after the three parties had not managed to reach an agreement in the last two days. The Liberals have come up with two options for the prime minister post - the current finance minister, Florin Cîţu and the former PM, the Liberal president Ludovic Orban. According to the Liberals, this decision could make the negotiations more flexible, but the USR- PLUS Alliance has already rejected the idea of Ludovic Orban re-entering the race for the PM position. On the other hand, the Social Democrats propose Professor Alexandru Rafila for this position. President Klaus Iohannis urged the parties to reach a compromise and adding that he would nominate for the post of prime minister any person supported by a center-right coalition.
Commemoration – Thursday was a day of mourning in Timişoara (western Romania), where, on December 17, 1989, the dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu ordered the use of lethal ammunition against people who challenged, in the street, the communist regime he was leading. The protests in Timisoara, where almost 100 people died and about 350 were injured, were the spark that led, a few days later, to the fall of the dictator, following the bloodiest Revolution in Southeast Europe. In memory of the heroes of Timisoara, religious services were scheduled for this year's commemoration as well as wreath laying ceremonies, pilgrimages to the monuments erected in the city in the hottest places of the Revolution, an exhibition and a special meeting of the Local Council.
Research - The interim government in Bucharest, led by Defense Minister Nicolae Ciucă, approved, in Thursday's meeting, a draft decision on the reorganization of the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics. Thus, the Institute will be able to open, develop and put into practice the latest technologies and discoveries in the field of informatics and cyber security. At the same time, two other projects related to the payment of contributions to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have been approved. The executive also analyzed a memorandum on the negotiation of the financing contract between Romania and the European Investment Bank, worth 250 million Euros, to support the Iasi Regional Emergency Hospital (northeast). (tr. L. Simion)