Relaxation of measures – Another 9 people have died of COVID-19 in Romania taking the total death toll to 961 - the Strategic Communication Group announced on Sunday evening, the total tally of coronavirus infections exceeding 15,300. Of the people testing positive for COVID-19, over 7 thousand have recovered. More than 2,750 Romanians from abroad have been infected with the new coronavirus, mostly in Italy, Spain and Great Britain. Since the start of the pandemic, 100 Romanians from abroad have died. In Romania, restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic will be relaxed as of May 15, however, certain rules will have to be strictly observed. People have to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces, in shops, public transportation means and at the work place. Companies and institutions will have to re-schedule employees’ working hours to avoid overcrowding of transportation means and to allow employees to work from home, if possible. Still forbidden are the open-air events and meetings as well as indoor cultural, artistic, sport and religious events.
COVID - 19 world – Over 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported at global level, show data collected by the American University Johns Hopkins. The number of deaths the world over has exceeded 277,000. The US is the hardest hit country by the pandemic, accounting for more than a quarter of the confirmed cases of infection and for one third of the deaths. Experts warn that the real number of infections is probably much higher, given that the testing rate in many countries is quite low. The number of deaths reported daily continues to drop in some states, but there is fear that relaxing restrictions might bring about ‘a second wave’ of contaminations. Moreover, governments are preparing for an economic downturn since the pandemic has affected the global markets and the supply chains.
Parliament – The Romanian health minister Nelu Tataru, the labor minister Violeta Alexandru and the foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu are called on Monday in Parliament to brief MPs on the way in which they managed the situation during the state of emergency. A sensitive issue on the agenda of discussions is the situation of the Romanian seasonal workers who left to work abroad in full COVID-19 crisis. Minister Bogdan Aurescu needs to explain how the Romanian workers went abroad and why they worked in insecure conditions. The labor minister also has to answer the MPs questions related to the Romanian employees’ furlough and to the promised pension increase and the measures the government is going to take in this respect. The health minister is expected to provide answers related to how many individuals have been tested for COVID-19 so far and how many tests were made across Romania and also to what is going to happen after the easing of restrictions following May 15.
PSD – The speaker of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and the interim leader of the Social Democratic Party PSD felt sick during a press briefing held at his party’s headquarters. He was presenting the journalists with some of the provisions of an economic recovery plan called “Restarting Romania.” The press conference was suspended and the official was taken to hospital, the doctors concluding that it was just a fainting spell.
May 10 – University professors from Cluj (northwest) are asking that May 10, which marks Royalty Day at present, should be declared the National Day of Romania alongside December 1. They suggested the model of Poland, which has two national days, or that of Hungary which has 3 such holidays. May 10 has a triple significance for Romanians: in 1866 the Hohenzollern dynasty was instated in Romania, with the coming to power of the German Prince Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen; in 1877 Romania proclaimed its independence after, one day before, Parliament had called on Carol I to sever all ties with the Ottoman Empire; and in 1881 Romania was proclaimed a kingdom. May 10 was the National Day of Romania until 1947 when Romania’s last king Mihai I was ousted by the then puppet Communist regime instated by the Soviet troops. In the past years, May 10 has been marked through various public events in Bucharest and other cities of Romania as well as in the neighboring Republic of Moldova. Princess Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania on Sunday conveyed a message saying that the royal family joins all those who are celebrating the Crown of Romania, the country’s modern history and its aspirations of freedom, progress and democracy. (translation by L. Simion)