Record jumps in the number of COVID-19 infections
For the last week, Romania has been registering record jumps in the number of coronavirus cases, over 1,000 daily. The total number of infections has surpassed 50,000, with the number of deaths exceeding 2,300. More than half of the infected have been declared cured. The authorities expect a couple of difficult weeks in terms of the epidemic, according to Raed Arafat, head of the Emergency Management Department, speaking to Radio Romania News and Current Affairs. He added that this is a period with a progressive growth in the number of cases, because this will be the period of time when the illness will manifest in the approximately 4,000 patients who refused to be taken into hospitals or have requested to be released. Arafat emphasized the fact that the major concern now is to adapt hospitals in areas affected by the virus, but also in neighboring areas. In addition, the aim is also to increase the capacity of intensive care units. Health Minister Nelu Tataru said that the number of COVID-19 cases may reduce in three weeks time if people are willing to comply with protective measures.
New measures against the pandemic
The novel coronavirus situation is very serious in Romania, President Klaus Iohannis repeatedly pointed out. At the same time, he underlined the fact that returning to a state of emergency, which would curtail rights and freedoms, and would hinder economic life, is only a last ditch solution. With the rise of daily cases being registered in the country, he warned that it is essential to observe measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus. The head of state said that, in the current epidemiological context, very firm measures are needed, and warned that violators would be punished. The head of state accused the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, of intentionally creating a health crisis by delaying in Parliament laws on isolation and quarantining, which he said has led to a record number of infections. He explained that the executive lacked for three weeks the legal tools to keep under control the health crisis. The Social Democrats replied that the Liberal government lost control of the situation during the pandemic, and that it would introduce a censure motion against it in August. The progressive rise in the number of infections forced the authorities to institute quarantining in several localities for 14 days. Also, on Wednesday the government introduced new measures to reduce the spread of the virus in its state of alert executive decision. This provides for localities or counties with a large number of infections to limit the occupancy of outdoor restaurants. It also provides that wearing a mask is compulsory in crowded areas that don't allow for social distancing, even in open spaces. The measure is being adopted by more and more counties.
Romanians face more and more restrictions
Romanians face more and more restrictions abroad as a result of the epidemic. Starting on August 1, Romanian citizens are not allowed to travel as tourists to Denmark, after authorities there added Romania to the list of banned states, after Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Portugal. Also, Romanian citizens with residence permits in that country were issued a strong recommendation of self-isolation upon return to Denmark for 14 days. Also starting on August 1, Romanians traveling to Ukraine can only enter the country if they provide a negative COVID-19 test done in the previous 48 hours. People without a valid test will be quarantined for 14 days. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry in Bucharest announced that, starting on July 28, Romanians traveling to Bulgaria no longer need an affidavit of personal responsibility stating that they are aware of the risks of the virus and the preventive measures applied by the neighboring country. The conditions set by each state can be consulted on the Foreign Ministry website, under the 'Travel Warnings Europe COVID-19' section. Restrictions imposed by these states apply not only to Romanian citizens, but also to those of other countries with high risk of infection, with the information being updated periodically.
Increased funding for children
Romanian Labor Minister Violeta Alexandru submitted a draft emergency executive order that would gradually double the allocations for children, raising it by 300 lei, about 60 Euro, for those between 2 and 18 years of age, and to 600 lei for children up to two years of age and those with disabilities. The minister pointed out that this increase would be operated in stages before 2022. The first increase, worth 20%, will be operated in September, applying for the month of August. Doubling the allocations was voted in Parliament upon the proposal of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, but applying the decision was postponed, because the ruling Liberals said the budget cannot support it due to the pandemic.