COVID-19 The total number of COVID-19 cases in Romania since the start of the pandemic passes 412,000. On Saturday, almost 9,700 new cases were reported. Another 160 coronavirus-related deaths were also confirmed, taking the death toll to over 9,900. A further 1,132 patients are currently in intensive care. Almost 70% of the total number of COVID-19 patients in Romania have recovered. Local lockdowns were introduced in several towns and villages with large number of cases, including around the capital Bucharest. Recent reports point to a plateau phase in the epidemic, president Klaus Iohannis said. He announced he would have a meeting on Monday with the health, interior and defence ministers, to clarify aspects related to the anti-COVID vaccination campaign, which he sees as a matter of national security. He added the latest data allows for “moderated optimism” and called for strict observance of the containment measures introduced by the authorities.
PANDEMIC The total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide is now over 58 million, with nearly 1.4 million deaths and over 40 million people having recovered from the disease, according to Worldometers.info. The US is the worst hit country, with over 12 million cases and at least 260,000 deaths. The American company Pfizer and their German partner BioNTech announced they have requested emergency authorisation of their COVID-19 vaccine in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration says the goal is to have the vaccine approved in the first half of December. The 2 companies claim to be able to supply the vaccine within hours of its approval. In turn, the EU may approve 2 vaccines by the end of December, the one produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and the one produced by Moderna. Over the last 24 hours, the number of infections has gone up in Ukraine, Russia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Italy and Spain. Madrid is to endorse on Tuesday a large-scale vaccination plan covering a large part of the population by next summer. The Madrid region will be under lockdown in the first half of December. The Italian government also announced plans to ease restrictions prior to the winter holidays, with tougher measures to be introduced between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
NUCLEAR The European Commission approved the cooperation agreement signed by Romania with the USA in the field of nuclear energy, the Romanian Economy Minister Virgil Popescu said in a Facebook post. He added that 7 billion USD worth of funding has been obtained from the US for the revamping of Cernavoda Unit 1, the building of Units 3 and 4 and for putting together projects in the field of energy. Virgil Popescu says the agreement will ensure Romania’s energy security, investments and jobs in many sectors. A consortium will be set up to this aim, comprising companies from the US, Romania, Canada and France.
FILM The 5th BUZZ International Film Festival, based in Buzau and devoted to European cinema, is held exclusively online as of today. Until November 26, film lovers are invited to enjoy Romanian and European films free of charge. According to the organisers, the Festival has 4 competition sections: fiction features, documentaries, short films and student films. Most of the works in the competition are screened for the first time in Romania. This year’s surprises include Radu Ciorniciuc’s documentary, “Home,” awarded in major international festivals. In the BUZZ Women section, the highlights include 'Creativ', a documentary by Ioana Grigore, and Nora Fingscheidt’s 'System Crasher,' winner of the Silver Bear - “Alfred Bauer” Award in Berlin in 2019.
G20 The online summit of the world’s 20 biggest economies, G20, hosted for the first time by Saudi Arabia, started on Saturday. The main topic on the agenda is the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Saudi King Salman told G20 leaders that they must work towards affordable and equitable access to vaccines and other tools to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including for poorer nations. On Friday, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen voiced hopes that the G20 summit due this weekend will be “a new beginning for multilateralism”. Ursula von der Leyen said she would call on the Union’s G20 partners to step up economic efforts to provide access to COVID-19 vaccine and treatment for poorer countries as well. The goal is to purchase 2 billion vaccine doses for countries with below-average revenues, the EC president said. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)