Coronavirus Romania. Hospital beds and staffing are the main focus of concern for the Romanian authorities, amid a sharp increase in the number of new coronavirus cases. Romania is approaching 42,400 cases, with a new daily record of 1,119 new infections. Almost 6,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus, of whom 301 in intensive care. 24 new deaths were also reported, taking the death toll to 2,150. People must understand that this is a difficult moment, the health minister Nelu Tataru warned once again. In another move, the government approved yesterday new social protection measures for the staff of companies hit by the coronavirus crisis. The healthy employees of the companies closed down by the public health authorities will be on furlough by the end of the year. An official statement says financial support is needed to prevent job loss, more social exclusion and wider social and economic gaps between the people whose jobs were directly affected by the epidemic and the rest of the population.
Coronavirus world. Coronavirus cases are on the rise around the world. More and more governments are considering reintroducing restrictions. At least 15.6 million cases have been confirmed globally, while the death toll passed 630,000. The United States, who recorded the first coronavirus death at the beginning of February, has 4 million cases, most of them in California, Texas and Florida. Europe has also seen a rise in the number of new cases. Spain is making efforts to isolate the outbreaks that have appeared since lockdown was lifted a month ago. New outbreaks have also been reported in Italy, in Lombardy and the Lazio area where Rome is located. On Friday, Italy announced introducing 14-day quarantine requirements for people coming from Romania and Bulgaria. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia have also seen new cases. The state of emergency in the Republic of Moldova was also extended until the end of August. The UK, with 45,000 deaths, Italy, with 35,000, France with 30,000 and Spain with 28,000 are the worst hit countries in Europe.
Corruption. The former anti-corruption prosecutor Mircea Negulescu was arrested for thirty days on Thursday following a ruling to this effect by the Supreme Court. He was working for the Ploiesti branch of the National Anticorruption Directorate. Last year, Negulescu was expelled from magistracy as a disciplinary measure following a number of scandals linked to controversial cases. He is now accused of abuse of office, unfair repression and forgery for making up evidence in two cases, including the so-called "Tony Blair case", in which the former Social Democratic prime minister Victor Ponta was accused of organising a visit by the former British prime minister to Romania to score electoral points in the 2012 elections.
I3M The Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu and the US Ambassador to Bucharest Adrian Zuckerman Friday discussed preparations for the summit of the Three Seas Initiative (I3M), due this autumn in Tallinn. They also attended a conference call with officials for the I3M Investment Fund, which Aurescu described as a fundamental instrument for funding regional inter-connection projects. He also discussed the role of I3M in consolidating the strategic partnership between the EU and the US. Bogdan Aurescu said the US plan to earmark up to 1 billion USD for I3M projects is a major contribution to the development of the region and of the trans-Atlantic partnership in general. I3M is a flexible and informal political platform bringing together the 12 EU member states located between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).
Border police. The border police was on the front line of the authorities' efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, said prime minister Ludovic Orban in a statement made on Friday on the anniversary of the Romanian Border Police Day. He added that the work of the border police, which he described as "very complex and demanding", involves "constant training, professionalism, courage, moral integrity and a huge sense of responsibility" with respect to citizens and their country. Orban congratulated the border police for the exemplary way in which they mobilised to secure Romania's land, sea, river and air borders in the context of the current health crisis, at the standards required of a EU member state and an aspiring Schengen area country.
Helicopters. Ten Americal Black Hawk helicopters are arriving today in Romania at the military base in Mihail Kogălniceanu, in the south-east of the country, on a mission as part of the Atlantic Resolve operation. The aircraft are from the 101st Aviation Brigade, the US army's most decorated unit of its kind. The Atlantic Resolve operation involves regular rotational deployment of US troops to Europe aimed at enhancing interoperability between NATO member states and improving links between allied and partner troops by means of cross-border training. (CM, AMP)