RESTRICTIONS The Romanian Health Minister Nelu Tataru has announced that authorities are considering restricting circulation in certain places, if new coronavirus hotbeds are discovered. He has stated that an analysis is being conducted into the situation on Prahova Valley and on the Black Sea Coast, because these are the areas where the rules are less observed. He has also stated, though, that quarantine in holiday destinations is not going to be imposed.
COVID-19 RO In Romania, the latest data reported by the Strategic Communication Group indicate over 26,500 cases of Covid-19. Most infections have been reported so far in the county of Suceava, in the north-east, and in Bucharest. Of the people confirmed positive, more than 18,900 have been declared cured and discharged from hospital. So far, 1,634 people have died of Covid-19 in Romania. The Liberal Prime Minister Ludovic Orban has drawn attention to the fact that the current public information campaign should convince citizens to observe the rules of protection against the pandemic. He has called on state institutions to check on the ground whether these rules are being observed. Romanian researchers say it is very unlikely that people who have been cured can be infected again. They came to this conclusion after analysing the SARS-CoV-2 virus circulating in the country and which they have proved to have originated in Wuhan, China. Most likely, the spread in Romania was done locally, through intra-community transmission at the level of the country's regions.
PANDEMIC The global toll of the coronavirus pandemic stands at more than 10.2 million cases confirmed and 500,000 deaths, according to worldometers.info. The epicenter of the pandemic is now on the two American continents, where Brazil has exceeded the threshold of 1.3 million infections. 57,000 Brazilians have been killed by Covid-19, and the situation is getting worse, as the virus is spreading to small towns, where patients are transported to urban centers with better medical infrastructure, which creates the so-called 'boomerang effect'. However, the worst situation remains in the United States, where more than 128,000 dead and 2.6 million infected have been reported so far. European officials are unable to agree on a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter the EU spaces as of July 1st. The EU closed its borders in mid-March, and now tourism-dependent countries like Greece want a quick reopening.
PARLIAMENT The Romanian two-chamber parliament ends its ordinary session this week. The agenda is focused on several bills, including the ones on local elections and the appointment of members in major public institutions. The leadership of the Chamber of Deputies must give a decisive vote on the bill on empowering the government to issue ordinances during the parliamentary vacation. The document was rejected by the Senate, the majority Social Democrats explaining that the Executive could not be credited in this respect, as it did not take measures following the sanctioning of several ministers by means of simple motions. The bill proposing the organization of local elections on September 27th might also be on the agenda. On the other hand, the opposition Social Democratic Party expects from the government a bill regulating the quarantine, isolation and hospitalization conditions.
EU COUNCIL On July 1, Germany takes over the rotating presidency of the EU Council, which will focus, among other things, on overcoming the crisis caused by the new coronavirus. Berlin's priority agenda also includes concluding negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the EU, as well as issues such as climate protection, digitalization and the positioning of Europe between the two great powers - China and the United States. The most important chapter with regard to managing the coronavirus crisis will be addressed next month, when a post-pandemic program for EU economic reconstruction will be discussed at a summit in mid-July in which European leaders will take part in person. In the coming weeks, the Recovery Fund will be the subject of intense fighting between European capitals, with an economic and investment plan financed by debts worth 750 billion euros. The reconstruction program is to be negotiated and agreed along with the EU budget for 2021-2027, worth more than 1,000 billion euros. Negotiations with the United Kingdom, which left the EU in January, must be concluded by the end of autumn, otherwise a difficult economic rupture could occur, with customs duties and other trade barriers in early 2021 - German officials warn.
FLOODS Until midnight, River Prut in northern Romania is under code orange for floods on the Botosani, Vaslui and Iasi sectors. Also, a code yellow alert is in place in Vaslui and Galati. River Timis too, in the west, is under code yellow alert for flood. Romanian Waters Authority continues to monitor all the rivers in the country whose levels have increased in recent days. Even if in some place the waters have receded, the intervention teams still have to remove the mud and branches that covered land and roads. (M. Ignatescu)