A roundup of local and international news.
CORONAVIRUS – A little over 6 thousand new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the last 24 hours in Romania and 26 related deaths. Around 400 patients are in intensive care. Face masks are again mandatory both indoors and outdoors as of today. Also starting today, the state of alert has been extended by another 30 days and the use of textile and plastic masks is no longer permitted due to their very low efficiency. Only surgical and FFP2 masks are allowed. 5-day quarantine is required for vaccinated people or people who had the disease in the last 180 days as well as a 10-day quarantine period for all other persons. The same rules apply to direct contacts of people who test positive to the virus. Unvaccinated persons who have not had the disease in the past six months will be quarantined for 10 days if they come EU countries in the red zone and from non-European areas. Vaccinated people from outside the EU who present a negative PCR test conducted 72 hours before will not have to quarantine.
NATO – Every country, irrespective of size or geography, has the fundamental right to decide on its path and the alliances it wants to join, NATO Deputy Secretary General, the Romanian Mircea Geoana said on Friday evening, after an extraordinary virtual meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The meeting, held at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, focused on Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine and on broader European security issues. Ministers stressed that any further aggression against Ukraine would have significant consequences and called on Russia to give up its aggressive rhetoric against its neighbours, withdraw its troops from Ukraine and choose the path of dialogue and peace. The meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers comes ahead of a series of diplomatic engagements next week with Russia, including a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on January 12.
KAZAKHSTAN - Authorities in Kazakhstan have detained Karim Massimov, the former head of the national security committee, on suspicion of treason, the security committee said on Saturday, Reuters reports. Massimov, who was fired this week as protests raged across the Central Asian country, was detained along with several other officials. The largest country in Central Asia has been shaken by protests that broke out on Sunday in the west of the territory, because of the increase in the price of liquefied gas, and spread to the economic capital Almaty, where the demonstrations turned into a riot against the Power, and protesters stormed official buildings. The head of state, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Friday authorized security forces to fire at protesters and, supported by Russia, ruled out any negotiations with them. A military contingent from Russia and other Moscow allied countries was dispatched on Thursday in Kazakhstan to support the government and security forces. Authorities have announced that more than 4,000 people have been arrested. Tens of protesters have been killed, the BBC reports.
TENNIS - Romanian tennis player Simona Halep qualified on Friday for the final of the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament. She defeated the Chinese Qinwen Zheng (19 years old, 126 WTA), in two sets. Halep will play the final against the Russian Veronika Kudermetova, after Naomi Osaka of Japan withdrew before today’s semi-final. Halep defeated Kudermetova in both games played against her before. This is Halep’s 41st singles’ final of her career. She has won 22 finals so far. (EE)