Covid Ro – A plane of the national airlines Tarom will be sent to Pretoria to bring to Romania the Romanian citizens who remained stranded in South Africa, after the cancellation of flights to the EU. According to the Romanian FM Bogdan Aurescu, 39 Romanian citizens from South Africa need to be repatriated. The aircraft will have another 50 - 55 free seats, which Romania offers to the citizens of the European states who want to leave the area. The Romanian government met on Sunday, in an extraordinary session, against the backdrop of international concern over the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus from South Africa, Omicron, which is believed to be more contagious. The list 7 South African countries on the red list was extended to 8, to include Malawi. Those who arrive in Romania from this area must be quarantined for 14 days. They may be released from quarantine on the 10th day if the result of their COVID-test is negative. In another development, the number of new Covid 19 cases in Romania continues to decrease. The authorities reported, on Sunday, 1,400 cases and a little over 100 deaths. 1,200 patients are in ICUs. Only four counties are still in the red scenario. A little over 10 thousand people have been vaccinated in the past 24 hours with the first dose. Since the start of the vaccination campaign in December 2020, 7.4 million people have been fully vaccinated.
UfM – The Romanian Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu, participates, as of Sunday, for two days, in Barcelona, in the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum and in the EU - Southern Neighborhood Ministerial Meeting. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry - MAE, in his speech at the forum, Bogdan Aurescu will emphasize the strategic relevance of the European Neighborhood and will highlight the need to develop synergies between the two dimensions, Eastern and Southern, of the Neighborhood Policy. At the same time, FM Bogdan Aurescu will refer to the need for a close cooperation between the member states of the Union for the Mediterranean in areas such as climate change, digital transition and civil protection and will underline the importance of joint reconstruction of the link between security and development in the region. At the EU- Southern Neighborhood Ministerial Meeting, Bogdan Aurescu will address, in his speech, the major regional challenges, such as illegal migration, the impact of climate change and terrorism. The Foreign Ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean states meet once a year at the Regional Forum to define priorities and areas of strategic cooperation. The EU-Southern Neighborhood Ministerial Meeting is a dialogue format attended by representatives of the European institutions, of EU states and of the Union's 10 partners in the Southern Neighborhood (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Palestine and Tunisia).
Tennis - Romania also won the third singles match of the competition with Peru, in the qualifying playoffs for the Davis Cup final, which took place on Saturday and Sunday in Cluj-Napoca (northwest). The decisive match was the doubles, won, on Sunday, by the Romanian pair Marius Copil / Horia Tecău against the pair Sergio Galdos / Arklon Huertas del Pino. On Saturday, Marius Copil defeated Conner Huertas del Pino, and Nicolae Frunză had the upper hand over Nicolas Alvarez. Romania will play next year in the Davis Cup qualifiers for a place in the final tournament, among the best 16 national teams in the world.
Statistics - Almost a quarter of Romania's inhabitants lived last year in a household whose income was lower than the so-called poverty threshold - the National Institute of Statistics informs. The relative poverty rate was, in 2020, 23.4%, i.e. the phenomenon affected over 4.5 million people. The highest poverty rates were recorded in the regions in the northeast, southwest (Oltenia) and southeast of the country, and the lowest poverty rate was reported in Bucharest-Ilfov, only 2.4%.
Covid world – The Netherlands joins the EU states where cases of infection with the latest variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, have been confirmed. The cases were detected among the passengers of two flights that came from South Africa on Friday, Reuters reports. The Omicron variant, reported by South Africa to the World Health Organization on November 24, is a cause for concern worldwide as it has multiple mutations and appears to be even more contagious than the Delta variant. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has estimated that the overall level of risk for the EU and the European Economic Area associated with the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is considered high to very high. On the other hand, Switzerland approved by referendum the law on combating COVID-19, which allowed it to instate the health passport. The referendum had been launched by the opponents to this passport. In Greece, the authorities have introduced new restrictions requiring believers to present a negative COVID-19 test to attend church services, following an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks. (LS)