Eight months have passed since the first coronavirus infection was reported in Romania.
The first case of infection with Covid-19 was confirmed in Romania on February 26. The story of a young Romanian, who got the virus from an Italian citizen confirmed as postive by the authorities in his country, made headlines in the Romanian media. What happened afterwards? The state of emergency was imposed in the country for two months, starting March 16, a period marked by measures that severely restricted the freedom of movement, by huge fines that were later anulled on grounds of being illegal, road and air traffic restrictions, closed kindergartens, schools and universities, the restriction of some basic freedoms, such as religious freedom, which forced Christians celebrate Easter indoors and also the quatarantine or isolation of Romanians who came from abroad. Moreover, stores, theatres and cinema halls were also closed while the hospitality industry was completely shut down. Many Romanians were affected by unemployment, while others started working from home. At the end of two months of lockdown, official figures showed over 16 thousand people infected with the novel coronavirus and over 1 thousand deaths.
Then, starting May 15, the Bucharest authorities replaced the state of emergency with the state of alert, which has constantly been extended up to present. About a month ago, the number of infections started to go up at a fast pace. If between September 20 to 27 the number of confirmed cases stood at around 10 thousand, the figure has almost tripled by now. Last week, in two days, the number of new infections stood at almost 5 thousand, and even went beyond this figure. Negative records were also reported in terms of deaths, that stood at almost 100 in 24 hours alone. The number of patients treated in ICUs also reached record levels, putting a lot of pressure on the Romanian healtcare system, one of the worst-performing in Europe.
Since February 26 up to the present, around 210 thousand cases of coronavirus infection and almost 6,500 deaths have been reported. The capital Bucharest, just like other cities, is in the red scenario, after the number of new infections exceeded 3 in 1,000 people. Consequently, starting last Tuesday, mask wearing is compulsory in al public indoor and outdoor spaces, for two weeks. The indoor activity of restarurants, coffee shops, cinemas and theatre halls has been suspended again, while kinderrgartens, schools and highschools, that opened on September 15, now hold classes exclusively online. (Translated by Elena Enache)