A roundup of domestic and international news.
SUMMIT - The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis will take part on Monday in the Virtual Summit and Web Forum of the Three Seas Initiative, organised by Estonia. According to the Romanian Presidency, a report on smart connectivity will be released on this occasion. The Three Seas Initiative is a presidential-level political platform that brings together the 12 EU member states located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia). The initiative seeks to contribute to the economic development of the member states, by encouraging interconnectivity in 3 main sectors—transport, energy and digital, and to strengthening unity and cohesion within the EU.
CORONAVIRUS - In Romania, 3,920 new cases of coronavirus infection and 60 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, the Group for Strategic Communication has announced on Sunday. The overall number of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic is 180,388. A new negative record was also reported in terms of ICU patients - 749. The infection rate in the capital Bucharest has exceeded 3 per 1,000 people. The Committee for Emergency Situations in Bucharest will convene in a meeting to decide on new measures to be implemented. PM Ludovic Orban announced on Sunday the first measures, among which wearing face masks both indoors and outdoors, holding only online classes and suspending the activity of theatres, cinemas, restaurants and coffee shops in enclosed spaces. The head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, said that according to experts this second wave of the pandemic may last throughout the winter. On the other hand, the number of medical personnel infected with SARS-CoV-2 could be bigger than officially reported, according to a poll conducted by Solidaritatea Sanitara Federation. Thus, 10% of respondents already had Covid-19, that is around 30,000 medical staff as compared to 6,300 officially reported. Nurses are the professional category most affected by the pandemic.
DIPLOMACY - Romania’s foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu has political consultations in Washington on Monday with the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, as part of a 2-day visit to the US by the Romanian official at the invitation of his American counterpart. The talks between Bogdan Aurescu and Mike Pompeo will focus on bilateral cooperation in the political, military, energy and economic sectors, including strategic projects promoted by Romania under the Three Seas Initiative. According to the Foreign Ministry, Minister Aurescu will also talk about the Visa Waiver programme. The visit takes place in the context of this year’s celebration of 140 years of diplomatic relations between the 2 countries. According to the Foreign Ministry, the visit had been initially scheduled for early April, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
PANDEMIC - The number of people who died from coronavirus exceeded 200,000 in the EU and the European states according to a report made public on Sunday by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Most deaths have been reported in the UK – over 43,000, followed by Italy, Spain and France. Europe has exceeded the threshold of 150,000 new daily cases, for which reason most countries toughened restrictions. In London, a ban on households mixing indoors came into force on Saturday. 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. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that more than 19 thousand new infections may be reported every day if the current tendency maintains. The US has so far reached 8.1 million confirmed cases and almost 220 thousand deaths according to an independent report by the Johns Hopkins University. Over 59 thousand new infections were reported in the US in the last 24 hours and 701 deaths. On the other hand, Israel and Australia have started to ease restrictions.
FILM - Astra Film festival continues in Romania until October 25, with the online screening of 41 documentaries. Of them 10 compete in the Emergent Documentary Voices category and the other 10 in the Central and Eastern Europe category. Moreover, the Romania audience can also watch 10 of the most appreciated films of the 2020 Open Air Astra Film Festival and another 11 films from the festival’s archive. (Translated by E. Enache)