Covid10-RO. Starting next week, the pace of anti-COVID vaccination in Romania will step up. Another 167 immunization centers will be opened across the country. Prime Minister Florin Cîţu has announced today that in the next period, 80,000 people will be vaccinated daily. So far, more than 1.7 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine, most of them Pfizer-BioNTech, but also Moderna and AstraZeneca. Nearly 750,000 people have signed up on the waiting lists. Florin Cîţu has stated that Romania will not enter a lockdown, but urged the Romanians to respect the protection measures, in order to get over this period of pandemic. Authorities have reported more than 4,200 new cases of contamination and 76 deaths today. 1,334 patients are in intensive care, a new record since the beginning of the pandemic. In total, some 900 thousand cases and over 22 thousand deaths have been registered in Romania. The Bucharest Committee for Emergency Situations has decided to extend by 14 days the restrictions in force in the capital. Bucharest and eight other counties are in the red scenario, with an incidence of cases higher than three per thousand inhabitants. On Saturday, the cities of Iasi (northeast) and Oradea (west) entered the red zone too, and several towns and villages around the capital are in quarantine.
Protests. Despite the negative evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, many protests were staged on Saturday across Europe against the restrictions imposed by authorities. In London, police gave fines and arrested several protesters. Protests were also reported in several German cities, including the capital Berlin. In Switzerland, in the town of Listal, more than 3,000 people demanded the lifting of restrictions and said authorities had taken the country hostage for more than a year. Similar accusations were made in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Protesters said the inadequate measures taken by the authorities had led to a severe economic and health crisis, destroying small and medium-sized enterprises, while thousands of people were left without jobs and any possibility of earning a living. Anti-restriction and anti-vaccination protests took place in Bucharest and in other cities across the Romania as well. Fines were given in the capital and the organizers were sanctioned for exceeding the maximum number of 100 participants allowed and for not ensuring the observance of sanitary protection rules. Some of the participants were also fined.
EU meeting. The Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu will attend on Monday, a meeting of the EU foreign ministers, in Brussels. According to a ministry communiqué, the agenda of talks includes the latest developments in the relation between the EU and Russia, the situation in Georgia, the EU approach to the Western Balkans, the situation in Venezuela, Myanmar and Ethiopia. The EU - Turkey relations and aspects concerning the southern neighborhood will also be addressed, in preparation for the European Council summit on March 25-26.
SeaShield21. 'Sea Shield 21', the largest and most complex NATO multinational exercise organized by the Romanian Naval Forces in 2021, in the Black Sea area, continues until March 29. More than 2,400 soldiers from eight states, 18 warships and 10 aircraft are participating. The simulations are coordinated by the Romanian Naval Forces. According to the spokesman of the Romanian Naval Forces, Cornel Pavel, Sea Shield 21 is based on the scenarios of a maritime operation in response to a crisis in the region. This exercise is attended by soldiers from Bulgaria, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, the United States and Turkey. The first edition of the Multinational Exercise 'Sea Shield' took place in 2015, and in the following years its scenarios were adapted to respond, quickly and efficiently, to the full spectrum of threats to maritime security and regional stability.
PoetryDay. On March 21, poetry is celebrated all over the world. World Poetry Day celebrates one of the most beautiful forms of human expression and national cultural and linguistic identity. Present throughout history in all cultures and on every continent, poetry speaks about our common humanity, about common values, transforming the simplest poem into a powerful accelerator for dialogue and peace, a UNESCO communiqué reads. World Poetry Day has been celebrated every year since 1999, when UNESCO established this event.
Tennis. The Romanian-Ukrainian pair Raluca Olaru / Nadia Kicenok are playing today against the American Kaitlyn Christian / Sabrina Santamaria the final of the doubles event of the WTA tennis tournament in St. Petersburg (Russia), with more than 565,000 dollars in prize money. In the semifinals Raluca Olaru / Nadia Kicenok defeated the Romanian-Dutch pair Monica Niculescu / Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove, and Kaitlyn Christian / Sabrina Santamaria eliminated the pair Oksana Kalashnikova (Georgia) / Ala Kudriavteva (Russia). Romanian Raluca Olaru has 9 WTA doubles titles and has played 11 finals. Her last title dates back to 2018 (Rabat, Morocco), but last year she played finals in Prague (along with Monica Niculescu) and Rome. Her colleague Nadia Kicenok has won 5 doubles titles and has played another 6 finals.
Handball. The Romanian women's handball national team meets, today, the national team of the host country, in its second match of the pre-Olympic tournament in Podgorica, in Montenegro. Yesterday, in the first match, the Romanians were defeated 29-24 by Norway, the team that has two Olympic titles, three world and eight European titles and is the defending continental champion. On Friday, Montenegro defeated Norway 28-23. The top two contenders at the Podgorica tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics due this summer. (MI)