Covid-19 The Romanian Government decided to extend the state of alert by another 30 days, against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic. The measure came into force on Wednesday, though several restrictions have also been lifted. Among other things, fitness centres, betting and gambling centres and the shops inside malls have been reopened. Also, religious services are allowed inside churches. According to the authorities, although the trend has been downward, the number of cases of infection with the new coronavirus might grow anytime. Lately, new cases have been reported, raising the total to 22,760 infections. The death toll now stands at 1,451. Of those who tested positive, more than 16,100 recovered. In related news, 85 Romanian nationals working on a farm in Bavaria tested positive for the novel coronavirus. All are asymptomatic and quarantined.
PENSIONS The Chamber of Deputies Wednesday endorsed a bill regulating the taxation of the so-called “special pensions,” a controversial topic in Romanian society. With 307 votes in favour and just 1 against, the bill, endorsed by the Senate in 2019 as well, was backed by all parliamentary parties. According to Radio Romania News and Current affairs, the Deputies decided to introduce a tax on the balance between regular pensions, based on contributions to social security funds, and special pensions. Incomes from special pensions in excess of 7,000 lei (little under 1,500 euros) will thus be subject to an 85% tax. Unless it is challenged at the Constitutional Court, the bill will be forwarded to the President for promulgation. The Chamber of Deputies also passed a bill that provides that criminals convicted for manslaughter, rape, aggravated robbery, sexual abuse against children and exploitation of begging can no longer benefit from conditional release.
FLIGHTS The Bucharest Airports National Company organized on Wednesday an event titled 'Everything will be fine!', which marks the resumption of flights after the break imposed by the global coronavirus crisis. Specifically, flights have been resumed to and from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, whereas those to and from the Czech Republic, Greece, Portugal and Scandinavian countries were resumed a while ago. A spokesman for the company said investments were not suspended or delayed in April and May, when the company’s revenues fell by nearly 98%. At the same time, Wednesday’s event was devoted to the anniversary of the first flight by a Romanian plane, designed, built and piloted by Aurel Vlaicu, on June 17, 1910.
FOOTBALL The match pitting Romania’s football team against Iceland, in the semi-finals of the European Championship playoffs, postponed twice over the coronavirus pandemic, will be played in Reykjavik on October 8, UEFA announced on Wednesday. Should it win, Romania will take on the winner of the match between Bulgaria and Hungary, on November 12. The goal is to qualify into the European Championship final tournament, rescheduled for the summer of 2021, which will be hosted by the same 12 European cities, including Bucharest. UEFA Nations League matches will also be played this autumn.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)