Government – In Bucharest, the PM designate Florin Citu on Friday submitted in Parliament the list of ministers and the governing program of his cabinet, after they were approved by the National Liberal Party’s executive bureau. The only change to the membership of the new government is at the finance ministry, a portfolio previously held by Florin Citu, who was replaced by Lucian Heius. The PM designate says he will negotiate with the parliamentary parties, as of Monday, the formation of a majority and he is asking the Social Democrats not to delay the timetable for the investiture of the new government. The latter claim however that the list of ministers presented without previous discussions with the parliamentary parties that should have led to the formation of a majority clearly shows that the Liberals are set to trigger off early elections. Similar opinions were expressed by the representatives of the center rightist Save Romania Union, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania and the center leftist Pro Romania party. The People’s Movement Party (center right) representatives say they will go to consultations with the Liberals. Florin Citu’s nomination by president Klaus Iohannis took place after the Constitutional Court on Monday ruled as unconstitutional the re-designation of Ludovic Orban as interim PM. His government had been dismissed earlier this month through a motion of no confidence.
Coronavirus Romania – In Romania another two persons – a woman from Timisoara (in the west) and a man from Maramures (in the north) - have been infected with the new coronavirus. They have been hospitalized and are receiving treatment in two local quarantine centers. At present, 3 cases of infection with the new coronavirus have been reported in Romania, the first patient being a man from Gorj (in the south) who is now in a good state in a Bucharest hospital. He seems to have recovered from the virus infection and he will be tested again in the coming days. All the three patients have been in contact with people from Italy, the European country most affected by the coronavirus. The interim health minister Victor Costache has given assurances that around 85% of the persons infected with the virus develop mild or moderate forms of infection. According to a statement from the government's Group for Strategic Communication, 47 persons are in quarantine at the moment and over 8,300 are being monitored at home. The statement also reads that two Romanian citizens infected with the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama, are now in hospital in Japan and are in good condition.
WHO - The World Health Organization on Friday increased the risk assessment of the coronovirus to very high across the world. The WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the increasing number of new cases and of countries affected in the past days was really concerning. He showed that 24 cases of COVID-19 were exported from Italy to 14 countries and 97 cases were exported from Iran to 11 states, while the average number of new infections in China – 329 cases reported in the past 24 hours – has reached the lowest level in more than a month. The coronavirus has spread to Europe with the Netherlands and Northern Ireland reporting the first cases of contamination. All public schools were closed in Japan and Saudi Arabia banned foreign pilgrims from travelling to Mecca. South Korea and Iran also cause concern. The virus has contaminated over 80,000 people and has caused the death of almost 3,000 around the world, mostly in China. More than 50 countries have been affected. Stock exchange shares have seen new plunges, facing the most difficult week since the financial crisis of 2008.
Refugees – Turkey started on Friday to allow the refugees from its territory (around 3.7 million people, mostly from Syria) to head for Europe. The Turkish authorities say they took the measure because they did not receive enough international support and had no other choice. News agencies comment that Turkey’s move is actually an attempt to force the Europeans to put more pressure on Syria and its ally Russia, in the clashes from the Syrian province of Idlib, where tens of Turkish soldiers were killed. The Bulgarian PM will meet Monday with the Turkish president after groups of migrants already reached the Bulgarian border. ‘We are concerned that the Turkish border guards have withdrawn from the frontier” said the Bulgarian PM. Greece and Bulgaria have consolidated measures at their land and sea borders. A Turkish official warned that the world should know that the Syrian refugees are a problem of the entire world, especially of the countries in the region and Europe, not only of Turkey. The EU retorted by asking Ankara to observe the 2016 agreement under which it committed to stop the migrants’ wave in exchange for financial aid. (translation by L. Simion)