President Iohannis discusses measures to contain COVID-19 outbreak with PM Orban and relevant ministers
COVID-19 Romania President Klaus Iohannis is today chairing a meeting held by conference call with PM Ludovic Orban and the ministers involved in the management of the COVID-19 outbreak. Also today, Klaus Iohannis is taking part in a European Council conference call focusing on measures to manage the crisis. The head of the Romanian state Monday signed an order introducing a 30-day state of emergency in Romania. The document is to be voted on in Parliament on Thursday. According to official data, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Romania has reached 184, with 16 people already recovered. Around 3,300 people are in quarantine facilities and nearly 16,600 are self-isolating at home under medical supervision. Scores of criminal investigations have been initiated with respect to thwarting efforts to combat diseases. All asymptomatic persons entering Romania from countries with more than 500 infections, such as Spain, France, or Germany, will enter mandatory self-isolation at home for a period of 14 days. The measure applies to people entering by air and road. Safety measures have been strengthened, with all indoor cultural, scientific, artistic, religious, sports and entertainment activities involving more than 50 people now banned. Parliament has amended its regulations to the effect that in exceptional situations meetings and votes may be held by electronic means.
COVID-19 World The number of deaths caused around the world by the new coronavirus has exceeded 7000, after Italy Monday announced 349 deaths in 24 hours. A total of over 175,000 cases have been reported so far in 145 countries. Italy, with 2,158 deaths out of 28,000 cases, is the second-worst hit country in the world, after China, which reported 3,213 deaths. France ordered a 15-day lockdown as of today. With over 9,000 cases, Spain has closed borders for non-residents and foreign workers. Hungary, too, has closed borders for foreigners. The European Commission may decide today to close the EU external borders and is considering a ban on non-essential travel. Several European countries have made the unilateral decision to close their borders, fully or partially. In many European countries, schools are closed down, public gatherings have been cancelled and business operations suspended. In the US, president Donald Trump announced strict quarantine measures and believes the epidemic may be followed by a recession. The World Health Organisation director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said governments must do more to fight the coronavirus pandemic. He also emphasised the importance of large-scale testing and screening.
STOCK MARKET The Bucharest Stock Exchange opened on the rise for all trading indices on Tuesday. Both the BET, which covers the 16 most traded companies, and the BET-Plus, which reflects the stocks of the 37 most traded companies in the Bucharest Stock Exchange, had gone up nearly 1.8%. European stock markets also recovered slightly on Tuesday, after plummeting to a 2012 low on Monday over coronavirus concerns and fears of global recession. Also on Monday, the Wall Street saw the worst decline since the 1987 Black Monday, after president Donald Trump said the coronavirus pandemic may last for months and the American economy might head towards recession. Investors are worried that the authorities will not be able to take efficient measures to address the economic damage caused by the outbreak. Meanwhile, the Philippines stock market Tuesday shut down indefinitely, the first move of this kind in the world caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
RAILWAY The Romanian Railway Corporation suspended, as of today, some international passenger services, including to and from neighbouring Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova and Hungary, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Passenger trains to Ruse, in Bulgaria, to Chisinau, in Moldova, and local cross-border railway transport on the Hungarian border have been suspended. Passengers may request fill refunds.
2020 OLYMPICS The president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach is today reviewing the situation of this summer’s scheduled Olympic Games, due to take place in Tokyo, Japan. In a conference call meeting with the chiefs of international federations, he may announce the postponement of the Games, over the coronavirus pandemic. Also today UEFA is to decide whether to postpone the 2020 European Championship, scheduled to take place in Romania and another 11 countries between June 12 and July 12. Bucharest is supposed to host 4 matches in the final tournament. Romania failed to qualify into the Euro 2020 preliminaries, but may still gain access to the competition if they win the Nations League playoffs scheduled this month. According to the initial calendar, on March 26 Romania should play against Iceland away from home, and if it wins it should play against the winner of the match pitting Hungary against Bulgaria, on March 31.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)