Covid-19 Ro. 3,382 new cases of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 were registered in the last 24 hours in Romania, following more than 32,000 tests run at national level, the Strategic Communication Group reported on Tuesday. During the same period, 119 people diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection died, bringing the total number of deaths to over 20,000. Almost 7,500 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalized in specialized health units, of whom 978 in intensive care. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, almost 785 thousand people have been infected in Romania, and about 90% of them have recovered. The vaccination campaign continues, and 1.4 million doses have been administered so far. Most people have been vaccinated with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Serums from Moderna and AstraZeneca are also administered across the country. The coordinator of the vaccination campaign, Valeriu Gheorghiţă, has stated that in Romania the immunization rate of 50% of the population should be reached between June and July this year.
Pandemic. The total number of COVID-related deaths exceeded 500 thousand in the United States on Tuesday. President Joe Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff on federal buildings for five days as a tribute paid to all those who have died since the start of the pandemic a year ago. According to the latest worldometers.info update, over 112 million infections have been confirmed so far in the world, and 2.5 million people have died. Over 87 million people have recovered. Meanwhile, European states are stepping up efforts to prevent the new coronavirus strains from spreading. Germany currently fears a third wave of the pandemic amidst plans to ease some of the restrictions recently introduced. Italy has announced an extension of the bans on travel between regions until March 27 due to an increase in the infection rate. In turn, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a timetable for lifting the hard lockdown in that country in an effort to restart the British economy.
Healthcare. Three hospitals in Romania have signed contracts with the Ministry of European Investments and Projects in order to improve the safety of patients and medical staff in the fight against Covid-19. They are the 'St. John' Emergency Clinical in Bucharest, the 'St. Apostle Andrew' County Emergency Clinical Hospital in Constanţa (southeast) and the Roman Municipal Emergency Hospital (east). The projects, which benefit from European funding, are worth a total of approximately 9 million euros. The diagnosis, care and treatment capacity will increase and medical imaging equipment, mechanical ventilation devices, defibrillators, as well as specific equipment for emergency and intensive care will be purchased, the Minister of Health, Vlad Voiculescu, has announced. The action comes after two fires in two Romanian hospitals where patients with Covid-19 were cared for resulted in dozens of dead and injured.
Budget. The draft state and social security budgets for 2021 reached Romania's Parliament on Tuesday, after the Government made some final corrections. The debate schedule will be accelerated, and according to some political sources, the leaders of the ruling coalition (PNL, USR / Plus and UDMR) have agreed that their MPs should not table any amendments. On the other hand, the opposition Social Democratic Party disagrees with what it calls an austerity budget, against the background of the economic crisis generated by the pandemic, and says it is preparing "thousands of amendments". The two chambers of parliament will meet in a joint session next Monday to debate the budget, with the final vote scheduled for a day later.
Law. The Chamber of Deputies in Bucharest is to debate and vote in Wednesday's meeting the draft law for approving the ceilings of some indicators specified in the fiscal-budgetary framework for 2021. The bill was endorsed by the Senate on Tuesday and provides that the ceiling of the general consolidated budget balance, expressed as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product, is 7.16% in 2021 and 5.84% in 2022. The personnel expenditure ceiling is 9.8% in 2021 and 9.1% in 2022. The public debt ceiling, according to the European Union methodology for the end of 2021, is 52% of the Gross Domestic Product. The ceiling for the issuance of guarantees by the Government through the Ministry of Finance and by the territorial administrative units for 2021 is 30 thousand million lei. The Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body on this matter.
Miners. The miners in Valea Jiului, in western Romania, stopped the protests, after the authorities found solutions for the payment of the salaries that the Hunedoara Energy Complex did not grant on time. The 70 miners trapped underground for almost a week, decided on Monday to come to the surface and thus end the protest. The decision was made after talks by their union leaders with Labor Minister Raluca Turcan. On Monday evening, a decision was adopted that allows the payment of outstanding salaries for insolvent companies too, such as the Energy Complex, which has been in this critical situation for over a year. Thus, the miners will receive their outstanding salaries and benefits - meal and transport vouchers - in three installments, with the first payments to due on Thursday and Friday. The solution found in the negotiations ensures the miners' salaries for the next three months, during which time the Energy Complex must reorganize itself and propose a plan to ensure its long-term operation. Despite the agreement, the miners have stated that they will not give up the protests, but will no long hold them underground. People are worried because they do not know what will happen to their jobs after the three months in which their salaries are covered. (MI)