650,000 people received Covid vaccine in Romania./ Renault Romania factory shuts down temporarily due to chip shortage./Romanian pupils are going back to school on Monday.
Vaccination. Almost 2,000 new Covid cases and 72 new related deaths were reported on Sunday in Romania, which now surpasses 745,000 infections and 18,880 deaths. With respect to the on-going vaccination campaign, the health ministry in Bucharest said all the three vaccines approved in the European Union, including Romania, namely Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, may also be administered to people with autoimmune diseases. The first batch of over 80,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived on Saturday, are also being administered in Romania from today. However, this vaccine will only be used in this country in adults between 18 and 55 years of age. Overall, some 650,000 have received the Covid vaccine so far in Romania.
Renault. French car maker Renault said it would suspend production next week at several factories due to a worldwide shortage of semiconductors. The temporary shutdown will affect factories in France, Romania and Morocco, which will be closed for two or three days. The shortage of chips, which has also affected other car makers such as Fiat, Opel, Chrysler, Citroen, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, was generated by increasing demand for chips from laptop and mobile phone manufacturers. The situation faced by the Renault-owned Dacia factory in Mioveni, which affects some 8,000 employees, has been discussed by the factory management with the Romanian labour minister Raluca Turcan. The latter said she would ask Parliament to amend the law allowing businesses in difficult situations to benefit from subsidy to pay their employees. The labour ministry will propose changes to the work schedule when justified, with reduction in working hours of up to 80% if necessary.
Schools. More than 2.4 million pupils out of Romania's almost 3 million are going back to school on Monday for the start of the second semester. Pupils and teachers will be wearing face masks in classroom at all times, children have to sit within at least 1 metre of each other and access is not allowed to visitors from outside. Education minister Sorin Cîmpeanu on Saturday told a TV station that education during the pandemic has been of low quality, largely because of on-line teaching, but also because of poor access to technology in some places, especially in rural areas. The minister said the losses are significant, explaining that there are big gaps between different schools and children and that it will be difficult to catch up with all the learning lost. He added that his ministry will closely monitor the catch-up scheme, which benefits from 30 million euros worth of funding.
Handball. Romanian women's handball champions SCM Râmnicu Vâlcea are today facing the Danish side Odense in an away match as part of Champions League Group B. Vâlcea are in the 6th position in their group with only 4 points. The two best-ranked teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, while teams finishing in the 3rd to 6th places will go into play-offs. Also in the Champions League, Romanian vice-champions CSM Bucharest came back with a win after two delayed matches in a row because of Covid positive tests in the teams they were due to play. The Bucharest side on Saturday defeated the Danish side Team Esbjerg at home, 28:26 and are now 4th in Group A, with 13 points in 11 matches.
Weather. An alert for rain and strong winds is in place in most of the country until Tuesday at noon. Precipitation is expected to reach 25 litres per square metre and even more locally. Strong winds are forecast in the mountains, with speeds of more than 100 km per hour at high altitudes, and with gusts of 40 to 60 km per hour in the rest of the country. Temperatures today are between minus 6 and plus 15 degrees Celsius, with 3 degrees in Bucharest at noon.