COVID-19 In Romania, the latest data released by the Strategic Communication Group point to a total of nearly 22,100 COVID 19 cases. The largest numbers of infections have so far been reported in Suceava County (north-east) and in Bucharest. A total of over 15,800 patients have so far recovered, and 175 are currently in intensive care. So far 1,427 people died because of the novel coronavirus. Around 3,400 Romanian nationals living abroad have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, most of them in Italy, Germany and Spain, and 114 of them died. Bucharest is further lifting some of the COVID-19 containment measures today.
PANDEMIC The worldwide death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic so far is over 435,000, out of almost 8 million cases. More than half of the patients have recovered. The US remains the worst hit country, with over 2.1 million cases and nearly 118,000 deaths, followed by Brazil, Russia, India, the UK, Spain and Italy. Europe, which was the second region hit by the pandemic, takes advantage of the more stable situation and continues to ease restrictions and to open internal borders. Italy, once the worst hit country in Europe and in the world, is today moving to a 3rd stange in lifting restrictions. Also today, Slovenia, Germany and Austria open their borders with Italy, with the first flights to Italian airports. Bulgaria is also lifting some of the COVID-19 related restrictions, although it faces an increase in the number of new cases, which raises fears of a second wave of the pandemic.
EXAMS Over 172,000 Romanian students graduating secondary schools this year are taking their National Assessment exams as of today, as a prerequisite for high school enrolment. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year the exam is held in special circumstances. Healthcare personnel are taking children’s temperature and every school is equipped with decontamination mats, protective face masks and biocide substances to use on floors, doorknobs, desks and chairs. Children are not allowed to bring any bags or backpacks into the examination rooms and are seated 2m from each other during the exam. The students who are self-isolating, quarantined, hospitalized, and those who had a temperature above 37.3 degrees Celsius on the exam day and those suffering from conditions that may be worsened by the novel coronavirus will take the exams in a special session between June 22 and July 4.
DIPLOMACY The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu is taking part today in an informal conference call with the EU diplomacy chiefs. The agenda focuses on transatlantic relations. The participants will discuss with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the importance of the partnership between the EU and the US, with an emphasis on the international consequences of the Coronavirus crisis. Another topic discussed with the American official is the relationship with China, with a view to strengthen the American-European dialogue and coordination in this respect. The Romanian foreign minister will emphasise the importance of unity and pragmatism, and the need to strengthen transatlantic ties. He will also highlight the need to maintain a strong American presence in areas affected by protracted conflicts, particularly in the Eastern neighbourhood.
MEASURES The Romanian airline TAROM announced resuming flights to and from several EU countries. As of today, flights to Athens are resumed in normal conditions, while flights to Vienna, Frankfurt and Munich are also scheduled this week. Quarantine or self-isolation is also no longer required for the Romanian citizens arriving from 17 European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary).
BREXIT The British PM Boris Johnson and the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen are holding post-Brexit trade negotiations today, after no major progress has been made towards a deal after four rounds of talks this year. London wants to end the transition period this year, whether or not a deal is reached. Experts say a failure of trade talks between Britain, which left the EU on January 31, and the 27 EU member states, may have devastating economic consequences, further deepened by the coronavirus pandemic.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)