COVID-19 Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of coronavirus infections in Romania has passed 671,000 and the total death toll has reached over 16,600, after over 3,000 new cases and 62 deaths were reported on Sunday. 1,065 people are currently in intensive care. The largest number of cases, 825, was reported in the capital Bucharest. Since the start of the vaccination programme in Romania on December 27, more than 100,000 people have received the anti-COVID-19 vaccine. Mild and common side effects have been reported in 350 cases, mostly headaches, muscle pain, fever, asthenia or rashes. The next stage in the vaccination campaign, addressing the elderly and chronic patients, is scheduled to start at the end of next week. The Government is to pass an emergency order granting bonuses to the personnel involved in the anti-COVID National Vaccination Programme, the health minister Vlad Voiculescu announced. Family physicians, who are regarded as a vital element in the immunisation campaign, will also be paid.
FILM "colectiv" / “Collective”, the Romanian documentary by Alexander Nanau covering a journalist investigation into the corruption in Romanian healthcare, won the award for best foreign-language film of the US National Society of Film Critics. The documentary "colectiv" is Romania’s nomination for the 2021 Oscars in the “best international feature film,” previously known as "best foreign film." This is the first time that Romania submits a documentary in the competition for the Academy Awards.
BANKS As of Monday, all banks in Romania are to submit to the National Tax Agency (ANAF) all data on the accounts held by private individuals and business, under an emergency order which transposes a European directive. The new legislation is designed to help the authorities fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. An electronic tax registry will become operational, containing banking and payment accounts identified by International Bank Account Number. The Agency will thus be able to monitor money circuits in Romania and to identify money laundering attempts.
SCHOOLS Romanian students resume online classes on Monday, for the last 3 weeks of the first half of the academic year. A one-week vacation follows, and the second semester, beginning on February 8, might bring Romania’s 3 million primary, secondary and high school students back into schools. This is one of the options considered by the authorities, depending on the latest COVID-19 developments. Another option is for only pre-schoolers and primary school students to resume face-to-face classes, while in a third scenario 8th and 12th graders might also get back to school.
EMPLOYEES 1.25 million people were working in public institutions in Romania in November 2020, over 64% of them in the central public administration. According to the Finance Ministry, nearly 600,000 of these jobs are entirely funded from the state budget. The largest number of jobs is reported in public education (almost 300,000), followed by the Interior Ministry (125,000). Local public administration units had 450,000 employees in November, more than half of them in jobs fully financed from the state budget.
COMPLAINTS Almost half of the complaints filed in 2020 to the European Consumer Centre in Romania concerned the transport sector. People were unhappy with the services received from air, road, railway and naval transport companies, as well as from car rental companies. Other complaints concerned clothing and footwear, restaurants and hotels, as well as entertainment and cultural activities, the National Consumer Protection Authority says.
WEATHER A code yellow alert for heavy snowfalls is in place until Monday afternoon in the south and south-west of the country and the capital Bucharest. A layer of 10-20 cm of snow is expected in these areas. Snowfalls, glaze and temperatures of up to 2 degrees Celsius are forecast in Bucharest for the next 4 days. (tr. A.M. Popescu)