Against the backdrop of relaxed restrictions and of a legislative void regarding quarantine and isolation measures, Romania is witnessing a surge in the number of infections with the new coronavirus.
Following the gradual relaxation of the restrictions imposed in a move to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, Romania has been recently faced with a worrying surge in the number of contaminations. Consequently, the hospitals receiving patients infected with COVID-19 are becoming more crowded, with fewer free beds left in the intensive care units.
A recent Constitutional Court decision has invalidated the law that imposed quarantine and isolation measures during the state of emergency or alert, thus prompting a wave of discharges from hospitals upon the patients’ request, which increased the risk of spreading the virus around. Even if the Liberal government has come up with a new law in the field, it is still waiting for Parliament, dominated by the Social Democratic opposition, to validate it.
At the same time, people have been rather reluctant to observe the sanitation and health safety rules and the authorities seem to have relaxed themselves, going easy on undertaking controls and giving fines.
Epidemiologist Adrian Marinescu, with the Matei Bals Institute in Bucharest says that people should be better informed so as to understand why they should be hospitalized and isolated: “Communication is important, just as the way the information is presented. We are obviously talking about a contagious disease, which spreads easily and in relation to which precise rules should be observed. People should know clearly that once a person tests positive for COVID-19, even if that person shows no symptoms at all, he or she may transmit the virus to their family members or at their work place. It is very clear that isolation should be one of the rules. Isolation may be in hospital or at home, but this depends on each and every situation. Isolation is a must, to prevent the spread of the virus.”
A special situation was reported in the southeastern city of Galati, where all hospitalizations in the Emergency Hospital have been restricted after a coronavirus hotbed was identified last week. The number of employees having tested positive for COVID-19 has exceeded 50. The patients having tested negative for coronavirus, with a stable health condition, hospitalized in the contaminated sections, have been discharged, and those with chronic diseases or needing treatment have been transferred to other sections. The patients infected with the new coronavirus, needing treatment, have been transferred to support hospitals. At present almost 400 people are still hospitalized in the Galati Emergency Hospital.
On Tuesday, a Romanian Parliament committee started investigating the purchases made during the state of emergency and how the government managed the respective period. The government was asked to provide details about the setting up of the Strategic Communication Group. The committee also intends to collect information from the citizens who came to Romania during the peak of the pandemic and also from the people who have been quarantined or hospitalized. (tr. L. Simion)