COVID-19 Romania - The Romanian president Klaus Iohannis has announced that against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic the government will most likely make an extraordinary budget adjustment meant to channel money to the healthcare system and for the payment of technical unemployment. He added that the payment of installments to bank loans might be postponed for both individuals and legal entities. Previously the finance minister Florin Citu had said in a Faccebook post that the period of grace might be of 9 months and that a decision in this sense could be made during Thursday’s government meeting, through an emergency decree. Also on Wednesday the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus reached 17. So far, according to the Strategic Communication Group, 906 cases of infection have been confirmed including over 100 medical staff. 86 people have cured and have been discharged from hospital. 9 Romanians have died from COVID-19 infection abroad: 7 in Italy and 2 in France.
Paris – The Romanian writer and anti-Communist activist Paul Goma died at the age of 84 in a Paris hospital after having been contaminated with the new coronavirus. He was born in 1935 in Bessarabia, in the east, into a family of school teachers that, 5 years later, took refuge in Romania, after the annexation of the Romanian eastern territories by the USSR. Due to his hostile attitude towards the communist dictatorship, Paul Goma was arrested in 1956 and sentenced to 2 years in prison, followed by forced domicile until 1963. In 1977 the Securitate, the political police of the time, arrested him again and tortured him. He was eventually expelled to France and the Communists withdrew his Romanian citizenship. Paul Goma wrote more than 30 books: fiction, memoirs and historiography.
Accord – The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu and his Hungarian counterpart agreed on Wednesday on the phone to reopen the border between the two states for the cross-border workers who commute daily between the two countries. As of March 17, when the border was closed due to the new coronavirus pandemic, they have no longer been able to work, thus risking losing their jobs. According to a communiqué of the Romanian Foreign Ministry the details regarding the implementation of this decision will be established through direct dialogue between the two countries’ interior ministries, through the agency of the border police.
COVID-19 Europe – The EU states need 10 times more pieces of personal protection equipment and other medical devices than what can be provided by the traditional supply networks to be bale to face the coronavirus epidemic- shows an internal EU document quoted by news agencies. The document shows that most EU states have limited stocks and a limited capacity to extend production of medical equipment and they risk having bigger problems if essential equipment is not rapidly imported. In Italy and Spain, the EU countries most affected by the pandemic so far, over 5 thosuand medical staff have been infected with the virus. The number of cases among medical staff accounts for almost 9% of the total number of cases reported in Italy and more than 13% in Spain. Since the new coronavirus started to spread in December 2019, it has caused more than 18 thousand deaths and over 400 thousand contaminations in almost 200 states and territories.
Public Health Institute – The National Public Health Institute in Bucharest has updated the list of countries in the red zone, which is the most affected by COVID-19. The persons who come to Romania from the red zone will be quarantined for 14 days. The states in the red zone are: Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Iran. As to the yellow zone, people coming from that zone will be obliged to isolate themselves in their homes for 2 weeks. The National Public Health Institute shows that all people who come from abroad will have to abide by this provision, which means that the entire planet has officially become a yellow zone. The WHO informs that the new coronavirus is currently affecting 196 countries and territories. (translation by L. Simion)