COVID-19 The National Committee for Emergency Situations decided that children up to 6 years of age should no longer be tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection upon arriving from high-risk regions. The requirement remains in place for children aged between 6 and 16. RT-PCR tests must be conducted 72 hours at most before boarding on public transport means or before entering Romanian territory. Also, athletes arriving in Romania from red-listed countries to take part in competitions are exempt from the obligation to isolate if they produce a negative RT-PCR test completed 72 hours at most before entering the country and if they only take part in competition activities. Meanwhile, the Romanian authorities continue to urge citizens to get vaccinated, arguing that immunization reduces the risk of the authorities having to introduce new restrictions. For the time being, however, containment measures are further eased. As of 1 August, the maximum number of participants in private events is higher. The interior minister Lucian Bode warned that face covering remains compulsory indoors. On Monday 84 new Covid-19 cases were reported, with a 0.73% positive test rate. Two COVID-related deaths were also reported. The number of hospitalized patients is currently over 300, with 38 of them in ICUs.
BUDGET Romania’s consolidated budget deficit for the first half of the year is 2.96% of GDP, down since the previous year, according to data made public by the finance ministry today. In January-June, investment expenses were around 1 billion euro higher than in the corresponding period of 2020, while exceptional pandemic-related expenses amounted to a rough 1.6 billion euro. The budget deficit target for this year is 7.16% of GDP. The Government is working on an emergency order to amend the state budget, expected to be passed in mid-August. Several ministries, including the transport and agriculture, requested additional funding. The education minister Sorin Cîmpeanu has also requested funds to finance an additional 6,000 resident doctor positions compared to last year.
TIFF The 2021 edition of the largest cinema event in Romania, the Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) continues in Cluj-Napoca (north-west), until 1 August. Scheduled for screening today are “The Flood Won’t Come” (Lithuania, director Marat Sargsyan) and “Persian Lessons” (Russia, directed by Vadim Perelman). A deeply atypical war film, “The Flood Won’t Come” brings about a downpour of intense visual experiences, dark humour and moral conflicts. “Persian Lessons” tells the true story of a Jew who pretends to be Iranian to escape the Holocaust. Over 170 films are screened in this year’s festival. Concerts and meetings with film industry representatives are also organised as part of the event. TIFF aims to promote cinema by presenting some of the most important contemporary works which reflect the originality of their authors, less common forms of cinematic expression and new cultural trends.
UNESCO The National Opera House in Bucharest is hosting today an event to mark 65 years since Romania joined UNESCO. The event includes a photo and fine art exhibition, documentary screenings and a choral concert. Romania joined the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation on 27 July 1956.
OLYMPICS The Romanian and world swimming superstar David Popovici this morning put up an outstanding performance in the 200m free-style final of the Tokyo Olympics. The 16-year old swimmer was only 2 hundredths of a second away from the bronze medal, but he nevertheless set up a new national record. Also this morning, the Romanian Robert Glinţă came out the 8th in the 100m backstroke final. Romania’s 3x3 basketball women’s team are wrapping up their Olympic run today, with a last match in the group stage, against France. The Romanians only managed to beat Mongolia, and lost to China, Japan, Italy, USA and Russia. (tr. A.M. Popescu)