Covid - One year since the administration of the first Covid vaccine dose in Romania, the country is on the last but one place in the EU in terms of the vaccination rate, with almost 7.8 million Romanians being fully vaccinated, i.e. just over 40 % of the total population. The data also show that almost 2 million Romanians have so far had the third dose. The situation reveals a rather low interest in vaccination, except for short periods of enthusiasm or fears caused by successive waves of the pandemic. A total of 566 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been reported in the last 24 hours and 24 deaths, the Strategic Communication Group reported on Sunday. About 450 patients are in ICUs, over 90% of them being unvaccinated.
NATO – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has decided to convene on January 12 a NATO-Russia Council - a co-operation body set up in 2002, now suspended due to the conflict in Ukraine - and he is in contact with Moscow on the matter, an Alliance official in Brussels announced. On Thursday, Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed his support for Ukraine and his determination to protect all NATO allies against Russia's actions, adding that he was always open to dialogue with Moscow. Russia and the West accuse each other of challenging actions by strengthening military capabilities at common borders. Russia wants a firm guarantee that NATO will not accept Ukraine as a member, a request that NATO rejected in the past, as well as to limit Western military cooperation in Eastern Europe and the former USSR member states. President Vladimir Putin did not say how Russia would react if its demands were not met, stressing that the answer depended on the proposals the military experts present him with. The EU, the US and NATO have warned Moscow that there will be serious consequences in case of a military escalation.
St.Stephen – Today, the majority Orthodox Christians in Romania, and the Greek Catholics celebrate St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He was a contemporary of the apostles of Jesus Christ and was one of seven deacons chosen to serve in the first Christian community in Jerusalem. Stephen was accused of blasphemy by Jewish clerics and was stoned to death. The New Testament recorded his last words, when he was asking God to forgive his murderers. Over 500,000 Romanians, most of them men, celebrate their name day on December 27, Saint Stephen Day. According to the Directorate for Persons Record and Databases Management, the most common is the first name Ştefan, along with the forms Fane, Fănel, Istvan, Ştefănel or Ştefănuţ, while most women who have Saint Stephen as their spiritual patron have the first name Ştefania.
Statistics - Romanian households remained on first place in the EU in 2020 in terms of the share of food and non-alcoholic beverage spending out of the total consumption expenses, show data released by Eurostat on Monday. While in the EU the average is 14.8%, Romanian households last year allocated 26.4% of total consumption expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages. On the other hand, Romania is better than most member states when it comes to the share of expenses on housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels out of the total household consumption expenditure. At EU level, these expenditures accounted for more than a quarter (25.7%) of the total consumption expenditure in 2020, while in Romania the percentage was 18.8%. According to Eurostat, these increases are a consequence of the quarantines and mobility restrictions that have been imposed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. (LS)