COVID – The number of Covid-19 cases in Romania has been constantly decreasing since the spring, but it has recently started to increase again. 9,339 people were confirmed with Covid-19, on Thursday, in Romania. The total number of infections is below that of the previous day, but by almost 50% higher than last week. The number of those who need hospitalization also continues to increase: over 3,700 people, of whom 253 are in intensive care. There are about 600 children with Covid in hospitals. Specialists say that the current variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, can bypass the protection given by both vaccination and the disease, and recommend the immunization of people from vulnerable categories. Anti-Covid vaccines adapted for the Omicron variant should be available in Romania as of the autumn.
Funds – The prime minister Nicolae Ciucă has said Romania’s absorption rate of European funds as part of the 2014-2020 financial exercise stands at 64.5%, a level similar to that of Germany and only slightly lower than France, but ahead of older member states like Belgium (59%) and Italy, Spain and The Netherlands (each with a little over 56%). According to Ciucă, Romania absorbed 22 billion Euros out of the 35 billion it is allocated in the 2014-2020 period.
Drought - Drought has so far affected 150,000 hectares of farmland in 20 different counties across Romania, said the agriculture ministry, based on daily reports on the state of the crops. The irrigation systems are struggling to cope, owing to the drop in the level of the water used to feed the irrigation stations. The biggest such station, in Brăila county, in the south-east, was shut down because of the low Danube water flow. The station was providing water for 250,000 hectares of land in the region. The water flow of the river Prut, in the east, is also dropping, having already reached a record low level. Agriculture minister Petre Daea said the animal breeding sector is also affected by drought.
Olympics – On Wednesday, Romania won the gold medal in the women's team artistic gymnastics competition of the 16th summer edition of the European Youth Olympics Festival in Banska Bystrica (Slovakia). Amalia Puflea, Amalia Ghigoarţă and Sabrina Voinea have had the upper hand over the representatives of Germany and Italy. After three days of competitions Romania has four medals: gold in the artistic gymnastics event, two silver medals won by Amalia Puflea in the individual all-around event and Aissia Claudia Prisecariu in the 200 m backstroke swimming event as well as a bronze medal won by Ana Maria Vişan in athletics, in the disc throw event. Romania is represented at the 2022 European Youth Olympics Festival by 92 athletes in 8 sports disciplines - athletics, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, judo, volleyball, handball and tennis. At the previous summer edition that took place in Baku, in 2019, Romania won no less than 19 medals: 4 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze.
Visit – The Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, will receive the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, on Friday in Bucharest, on the occasion of her official visit to Romania, at the invitation of the Romanian head of state. It is the first direct bilateral meeting of the two heads of state after the Republic of Moldova (an ex-Soviet state with a majority Romanian-speaking population) received the status of candidate country to EU accesion. According to the Presidential Administration, Klaus Iohannis will reiterate Bucharest's firm support for boosting the reform process in the Republic of Moldova, necessary for European integration. At the same time, the two officials will tackle regional developments in the context of the war launched by Russia against Ukraine as well as the ways to counteract its negative effects on Chisinau. Topics of central interest on the bilateral agenda will also be addressed, such as the energy security of the Republic of Moldova and sectoral cooperation in key areas - the Presidential Administration also shows. (LS)