Resignation - The Romanian health minister Victor Costache has resigned today and will be replaced by the secretary of state Nelu Tataru, according to the PM Ludovic Orban. In Romania, the number of deaths cause by COVID-19 infection has reached 17. So far, according to the Strategic Communication Group, 1029 cases of infection have been confirmed including over 100 medical staff. 94 people have been cured and have been discharged from hospital. 9 Romanians have died from COVID-19 infection abroad: 7 in Italy and 2 in France. The president of the Romanian Society of Microbiology Alexandru Rafila believes that in 2 or 3 weeks’ time or even sooner Romania will report daily at least 1,000 cases of coronavirus infection, with the increase in the capacity to diagnose the disease.
COVID-19 Romania – In Romania, in the context of the new coronavirus pandemic, new special measures will be approved today by the government. An emergency decree is expected, which allows for the postponement of loan installments for both individuals and legal entities, for a maximum period of 9 months. The announcement was made Wednesday by President K Iohannis who expressed conviction that in this time span the economy and the people will recover and things will go back to normal. The finance minister Florin Citu explained that no certificate is needed to obtain such a facility, people and legal entities only need to make an application to the bank. The Romanian government might also decide on granting benefits for dangerous working conditions for the staff of the authorities and institutions involved in the prevention containment and treatment of COVID-19. Further social protection measures will also be taken and modifications will be made to the state of curfew and emergency.
Statistics – 6 out of 10 Romanians who have currently a job believe that the global situation generated by the coronavirus epidemic might affect their job – shows a survey made by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy - IRES. Over 3 quarters of the participants in the survey say that they are entirely observing the recommendations of the government and of the National Emergency Committee. The recommendation to stay at home these days was observed by almost 6 out 10 people. Buying needed staff is the most popular reason why Romanians went out. At the same time, half of the respondents believe that the other people are not observing the authorities’ recommendations. Also more than half of the respondents say that the news on the coronavirus epidemic makes them fearful.
COVID-19 Europe – The EU leaders are today reviewing the measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic, given that 2 thirds of the world’s victims killed by the COVID-19 virus were reported in Europe. The heads of state and government are discussing in a video conference the implementation of the lessons learnt from this crisis, to improve in the future the authorities’ response capability. In parallel, the EP is debating in Brussels in an extraordinary session the first bills proposed by the EC regarding emergency measures to fight the pandemic. The first item on the agenda is the initiative for investments required by the situation, which will make available to member states cohesion funds worth 37 billion Euros to be able to deal with the consequences of the crisis. They will also debate and vote on a bill regarding the extension of the applicability domain of the EU solidarity fund, to cover for emergencies in the public healthcare system. (translation by L. Simion)