VOTING The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu called on all Romanians living abroad to vote by mail, and reminded them that October 22 is the deadline for registration for this type of voting for the December 6 parliamentary election. Bogdan Aurescu warned that postal voting is the best way to protect Romanians’ health in the current pandemic. The foreign minister also says the full list of the documents required for voting is available on the ministry’s home page in the section devoted to this year’s general election. The Foreign Ministry warned several times that some countries have restrictions in place, which will affect the number of polling stations that the Romanian authorities will be allowed to open abroad.
COVID-19 In Romania, a new record-high number of coronavirus infections in 24 hours has been reported—4026, according to the Strategic Communication Group. The overall number of cases is 172,516. Also, 75 more people died, taking the death toll to 5,749. A new negative record was also reported in terms of ICU patients—726. The authorities are seeking solutions to make sure as many hospitals as possible are involved in the fight against the pandemic. The head of the Department for Emergencies, Raed Arafat, said that according to experts this second wave of the pandemic may last throughout the winter. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, over 1,000 schools in the country operate exclusively online. The Education Ministry says over 11,300 schools still work in the face-to-face teaching system, while 5,235 schools use both in-person and online classes.
PANDEMIC The World Health Organisation warns that several European cities are facing a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients that require intensive care, and that ICUs may reach their full capacity in the coming weeks. NATO is prepared to provide assistance to Europe. According to the deputy secretary general of the Alliance, Mircea Geoană (Romania), NATO already has a special fund and logistical support plans in place for member and partner states. He explained that NATO’s main concern is for the current healthcare crisis not to turn into a security crisis. France Press reports new restrictions introduced across Europe. In London, a ban on households mixing indoors came into force on Saturday, after on Friday 15,000 new infections were confirmed in the UK. In 10 major cities in France, including Paris and its suburbs, a curfew is in place as of Saturday between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The measure will be in place for at least 4 weeks, amid a rise in the number of daily new cases to over 25,000. New restrictions are also introduced in Warsaw and other Polish cities included in a “red-zone”: high-schools and colleges are switching to the online mode, restaurants will only be open until 9 PM, weddings are banned and the number of people entering shops, churches and public transport will be restricted.
DATATHON Romania won the first prize in the 4th challenge, “A Europe fit for the digital age,” in the EU Datathon’s online final. The Romanian team’s submission, which also won a check for 12,000 euro, is called Digital Dryads, and is designed to protect forests from illegal logging using spectral analysis, machine learning and state-of-the-art satellite imagery produced under the EU Copernicus programme. The EU Datathon is an annual competition inviting original ideas on how to exploit EU Open Data.
DEFENCE The Romanian Defence Ministry welcomes the approval by the US State Department of Romania’s application for purchase of the Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems. The clearing has been forwarded to the US Congress. The Naval Strike Missile is a sea-skimming, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile, and Romania wants to buy two of the systems under one of the 5 programmes in the Romanian Army’s upgrade plan. The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by improving Romania’s maritime defence capabilities in the Black Sea.
LITERATURE A Romanian-British literature festival is held online and in London as of today until November 13. Entitled "Romania Rocks," the event brings together Romanian and British authors and translators, and is designed to promote Romanian literature around the world. All events may be accessed free of charge on the communication channels of the Romanian Cultural Institute and the European Literature Network. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)