A roundup of domestic and international news.
FIRE – Investigations have been resumed today at the Matei Bals infectious diseases hospital, following Friday’s fire that killed 5 patients. Members of the hospital’s medical staff are being heard by the police. Several wards have been completely destroyed by fire. Over 100 patients have been transferred to other hospitals. Representatives of the hospital say that the medical unit has all licenses and approvals needed for functioning and that they will support the ongoing investigation. The healthcare system must be reformed and investment is needed in medical infrastructure so that such tragedy never happens again, President Klaus Iohannis and PM Florin Citu have said. The Social Democrats, in the opposition, say it is outrageous that the government has done nothing to prevent such tragic events, after last the fire at the ICU of the Emergency Hospital in Piatra Neamt killed 10 patients.
VACCINE - A second batch of over 21 thousand doses of Moderna vaccine are to be delivered to Romania today, according to the Committee for the Coordination of Activities on Vaccination against Covid-19. The doses will be then distributed to vaccination centers across the country. Romania currently uses the Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine. Authorities say the two vaccines are similar and their efficiency rate is quite the same, 95% for Pfizer and 94.1% for Moderna. Both are based on the ARN messenger technology. According to Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu, Romania has fewer doses than needed, for which reason some categories of people have been rescheduled for the first dose of the vaccine. Over 550 thousand people have so far been vaccinated in Romania. Another 2,700 new infections have been reported today in Romania, out of 31 thousand tests, and 68 people have died.
TALKS - Romania has made important progress in the process of accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and continues to count on the support of France, Finance Minister Alexandru Nazare has said. On Friday, in a conference call with his French counterpart, Bruno le Maire, he discussed about perspectives for the European economy in 2021. The French official has accepted the invitation of Minister Nazare to pay a working visit to Bucharest when the epidemiological situation allows it.
APPROVAL - The European Medicines Agency on Friday approved the anti-COVID-19 vaccine produced by the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, the third vaccine green lighted for use in the European Union. The vaccine was approved for people over the age of 18. The company has been at the centre of a dispute over the speed of supplies, which disrupted national vaccination campaigns in a number of countries. In order to make sure that vaccines are distributed in keeping with the contract, the EU has decided to introduce a control mechanism of exports for the vaccines produced on the member states’ territory. On the other hand, a number of European countries such as France, germany and the Czech Republic have announced tougher restrictions at their borders, over worries generated by the new varients of Covid-19. Germany has banned, as of today, the access to its territory of most visitors from the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa. Also as of today, Czech authorities do not allow unessential access to its soil, with a few exceptions, while France closes its borders for non-EU citizens while the EU citizens will be required to produce a negative Covid test upon entering the country.
PROSECUTORS - The Romanian Ministry of Justice on Friday selected six candidates for the position of delegate prosecutor in Romania of the European Public Prosecutor's Office. The candidates are Dana-Manuela Ana, Camelia-Elena Grecu, Constantin Irina and Jean-Nicolae Uncheselu - all four from the National Anti-corruption Direction, Dana-Cristina Bunea from the Prosecutor's Office with the High Court of Cassation and Justice and Florin Bogdan Munteanu from the Court in Iasi, north-eastern Romania. The prosecutors will be working for the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) in their home countries and will have the same responsibilities as national prosecutors in terms of investigations, criminal actions and prosecution. The EPPO will also investigate fraud and other crimes infringing on the EU's financial interests. EPPO will also be investigating crimes with EU-wide effects or crimes perpetrated by civil servants or members of European institutions. We recall Romanian Laura Codruța Kovesi is the head of the European Public Prosecutor's Office. (Translated by E. Enache)