COVID-19 The total number of COVID-19 cases in Romania since the start of the pandemic passes 418,000. On Sunday, 5,800 new cases were reported. Another 131 coronavirus-related deaths were also confirmed, taking the death toll to over 10,000. A further 1,174 patients are currently in intensive care. The health minister said at present there are around 1,390 intensive care beds, with another 280 to be available in the coming period. Local lockdowns were introduced in several towns and villages with large number of cases, including around the capital Bucharest. President Klaus Iohannis said this is a measure that has proved effective in containing the epidemic. He added similar measures are being considered in many other localities, but that in the coming 2-3 weeks things will return to “somewhat normal” parameters. Iohannis 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.
GAUDEAMUS Another 30 new events could be watched online on Sunday, the last day of the Gaudeamus Radio România book fair, held exclusively online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A rich diversity of events could be accessed on the Fair’s Facebook page and website. By Saturday night, the event’s website had reported more than 40,000 single users. Nearly 200 books were presented online. Apart from the virtual book releases on Facebook and on gaudeamus.ro, the vote for the public’s favourite book continued. The Gaudeamus Radio România book fair is a cultural project with a tradition of more than 2 decades. Over 100 companies are taking part, including some of the biggest publishing houses in Romania and distributors of Romanian and foreign books, music and games.
FILM The 5th BUZZ International Film Festival, based in Buzau and devoted to European cinema, is held exclusively online this year. Until Thursday, 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 leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies, convening at the virtual G20 summit, hosted for the first time by Saudi Arabia, pledged to secure accessible pricing and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments, and that poorer countries are not affected. According to the meeting’s outcome document, the participants promised to support a global project on vaccines, tests and medicines. The main topic on the agenda of the summit was the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The French president Emmanuel Macron said, “We need to avoid at all costs a scenario of a two-speed world where only the richer can protect themselves against the virus and restart normal lives.” In turn, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, proposed an international treaty on pandemic, which would be very useful, he argued, even if the World Health Organisation must remain at the forefront of future health crisis management.
PANDEMIC The total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide is now over 58 million, with nearly 1.4 million deaths and over 40.5 million people having recovered from the disease, according to Worldometers.info. The US is the worst hit country, with over 12.4 million cases and at least 261,000 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. 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. Portugal will also close schools ahead of 2 major national holidays, in a move to prevent the spread of the disease before Christmas. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)