EUROPE DAY Europe is experiencing the most difficult period since WW2, the president of Romania Klaus Iohannis says in a message released today, on Europe Day. He says that this is a time that tests our resilience, unity and humanity, and that, faced with the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Romania has once again proved to be a trustworthy partner. The president mentioned that teams of Romanian doctors and nurses went to Italy and the Republic of Moldova to support the efforts to fight the epidemic. Romania is also the first EU member state to manage a strategic stock of medical equipment for the entire Union, and under this mechanism vital equipment has already been delivered to the worst hit areas. May 9 marks the 1945 victory of the Allies against Nazi Germany in WW2, as well as the historic 1950 declaration of the French foreign minister Robert Schuman, proposing an economic cooperation plan between France and Germany, to do away with deep-rooted rivalries. On the same day, Romania celebrates its independence from the Ottoman Empire, proclaimed during the Russo-Turkish war in 1877.
COVID-19 The Strategic Communication Group in the Government of Romania is to make public today a list of measures to be implemented by business operators and public institutions as of May 15, when the state of emergency introduced 2 months ago over the coronavirus epidemic ends. The interior minister Marcel Vela urged companies with more than 50 employees to organise shifts so as to reduce pressure on public transportation. He added that the committee drafting the rules for lifting restrictions are still discussing whether the sworn statement required at present for those who leave their home should be maintained after May 15. The SCG also announced today that the total number of deaths in Romania is 926. The total number of cases so far is over 15,100. Of these, 6,400 have recovered. Among the Romanians living abroad, 2,444 have tested positive for the virus, most of them in Italy and Spain, and 96 have died since the start of the pandemic.
TRANSPORT Airlines are bound to refund the price of tickets for cancelled flights, according to the EU legislation, the European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean announced. She said citizens must contact the relevant member states, because many countries have provided state aid to airlines precisely in order to help them cover their cash shortages. Adina Vălean also announced that next week she will make public a list of safety rules for various transport means, as cross-border traffic is being gradually resumed and the EU seeks to help the tourism industry recover. She also said the so-called green corridors for commodities will be preserved in the foreseeable future.
PANDEMIC The European Commission has called on all Schengen member and associate states to extend the temporary ban on non-essential travel in the EU until June 15. Although some member countries are already lifting the restrictions aimed at fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the situation is still fragile both in Europe and in the rest of the world, the Commission argues. This is why external border restrictions are still needed, in order to reduce the risk of the disease spreading through travel into EU countries. The number of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases worldwide is around 3.8 million, and the death toll stands at over 264,000. In the US, over 1.2 million people have tested positive, and in Spain, Italy and the UK the number of cases is over 200,000.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)