COVID-19 Romania is in a difficult stage, in a "second wave" of the COVID-19
pandemic, which is reported in most European countries as well, and it is vital for us to reverse this negative trend,
president Klaus Iohannis told a press conference on Tuesday night.Without a collective effort, overcoming this unprecedented crisis will
be impossible, the head of state added. He once again called on citizens to be
cautious and observe current regulations. The appeal comes as the number of
coronavirus infection cases is on the rise in Romania. The health minister Nelu Tataru announced
on Tuesday at the end of a National Committee for Emergencies meeting that the
state of alert in Romania will be
extended by another 30 days as of October 15. In turn, the head of the
Department for Emergencies Raed Arafat announced new measures to contain
the coronavirus pandemic. Face covering will be worn in crowded areas with
under 3 infections per thousand people, and over this level face masks will be
Arafat also announced that all private events (weddings, anniversaries and so
on) are banned across the country. 3,109 new cases were reported on Tuesday, out of 26,718 tests conducted
nationwide, the Strategic Communication group announced.Another
68 SARS-COV-2 patients died, taking the death toll to 5,535. Since the start of
the pandemic, over 160,000 cases have been confirmed in Romania, with more than
120,000 patients having recovered.
ECONOMY The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has improved slightly its estimates on the Romanian economy in 2020 and 2021, according to the latest World Economic Outlook report, made public on Tuesday. While in April the IMF estimated a 5% economic contraction this year, the new forecasts point to a 4.8% drop and a 4.6% growth rate in 2021. The IMF estimates are more optimistic than those released by the World Bank, which last week predicted a 5.7% contraction for Romania in 2020. For next year however the WB expects a 4.9% growth. Also, according to the IMF, the unemployment rate in Romania will rise to 7.9% this year, which is significantly lower than the 10.1% estimated in April.
BONUS The Chamber of Deputies Tuesday passed a bill concerning bonuses for teaching staff and other school personnel exposed to COVID-19 infection risks. The bill, endorsed in an emergency procedure, will be sent to the president for promulgation. The bonus amounts to around 400 euro per month for teachers and 300 euro per month for school personnel, and will be paid throughout the state of emergency and alert.
COMMUNICATIONS Vlad Stoica was appointed by Parliament on Tuesday as head of the National Communication Regulatory Authority (ANCOM), with 283 votes in favour and 36 against. Three other candidates were considered for the post. Vlad Stoica, former chief of staff for ex-PM Victor Ponta in 2013-2015, is replacing Sorin Grindeanu, who stepped down in order to become vice-president of the Social Democratic Party. Under current legislation, Grindeanu had to choose between the 2 positions, which are incompatible.
AIR QUALITY The National Air Quality Monitoring Network is extending further to an investment of roughly 17 million euro, which will also cover the set up of an air quality forecast system. Most of the amount comes from the EU under the Large Infrastructure Operational Programme, Priority 4, the Romanian minister for the environment, waters and forestry Costel Alexe said on Tuesday. The National Air Quality Monitoring Network currently consists in 148 stations, 8 of them in Bucharest. Under the financing agreement signed on Tuesday, the Network will be extended by 60 stations. An air quality forecast system will also be implemented. The system, accessible to the public on a daily basis, will provide information on air pollutant levels for 24, 48 or 72 hours anywhere in the country. (translated by A.M. Popescu)