Romania in the green scenario
Bucharest and all the counties of Romania continue with the green scenario in terms of SARS-CoV-2 infections, meaning that the rate of infection levels at 1.5 per 1,000 inhabitants, according to the Strategic Communication Group on Thursday. PM Florin Citu assured that starting next month more relaxation measures will be adopted, after dropping mask requirements for outdoor spaces, and the night curfew. The head of government specified that this is not necessarily related to reaching the target of five million vaccinated people by June 1. The coordinator of the National Immunization Campaign, Valeriu Gheorghita, believes that it is unlikely for this target to be reached by the end of May, but that he expects it to be by the middle of June. Over four million people took the jab for COVID-19, pushing Romania to the seventh place at the European level in terms of immunization, and the 19th place in the world. Right now, walk-in vaccinations are available, where people can simply walk into any vaccination center with their ID card in hand. Tens of thousands have been vaccinated over the last few days in a drive-through system, and as part of the so-called marathons held in many towns and cities. However, huge gaps remain between the rural and the urban. Thus, in Bucharest, over a third of people took the jab, while in the countryside there are still places where people simply refused to be inoculated.
Starting on Monday, students in Romanian schools are no longer forced to wear face masks in the schoolyard. According to Minister of Education Sorin Cimpeanu, around 3 million children across the country can attend class in person. Teaching will continue to be online only for the classes where coronavirus infections have been confirmed. The minister specified that the exam schedule this year has been adjusted to the conditions created by the mostly online teaching this year, but that the level of difficulty for the National Evaluation and the baccalaureate will remain the same.
Economics and politics
Romania's GDP grew in real terms by 2.8% in the first quarter of this year, as compared to the same in 2020, according to the National Institute of Statistics. Liberal PM Florin Citu stated that this is the fastest economic recovery in history, in response to the worst crisis in the last century. He added that his coalition government is preparing new measures to bolster Romania's economy post-pandemic, making it stronger and more competitive. From the other side of the isle, Social Democratic leader Marcel Ciolacu retorted that in reality the only historic event is the collapse of purchasing power of Romanians. He pointed to the 17% higher energy bills, 9% higher costs for fuel, and an inflation topping 3%.
Disputes around the National Plan for Relaunching and Resilience
The National Plan for Relaunching and Resilience, hinging on the almost 30 billion Euro that Romania is slated to be assigned from Brussels, was on the agenda of the meeting between PM Florin Citu and a Social Democratic delegation led by opposition leader Marcel Ciolacu. The latter said that he was dissapointed by the fact that the plan was not debated in detail, and that only its principles were unveiled. The leader of the left decried the fact that the reforms included in this plan and SME funding were not disclosed. After the initial draft was rejected by Brussels, the government wants to complete and forward to the European Commission a revised NPRR by the end of May, one month beyond the deadline. Most other member states of the EU have forwarded their plans to the Commission.
A first in sports
Romanian swimmer Robert Glinta won the gold and set a national record in the 100 m backstroke event at the European Swimming Championships in Budapest. He had previously won the silver in the 50 m backstroke event. This is the first gold won by Romania at a European championship for seniors in the men's events, and the first after a 17 year gap. The last gold medal was won by Camelia Potec in 2004, in Madrid in the 200 m freestyle event. In football, CFR Clus won on Tuesday its fourth consecutive title and its seventh in history as the top national team. CFR will be the only Romanian team at the Champions League preliminaries. Vice-champions FCSB will be attending the newly minted Conference League.