February 22, 2021 UPDATE

february 22, 2021 update A roundup of domestic and international news

VACCINE - A new tranche of 200,000 dozes of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Romania on Monday. According to the National Committee for the Coordination of Vaccination Activities, the total doses administered so far, to more than 820 thousand people, exceeds 1.4 million. The Minister of Education, Sorin Cîmpeanu, has stated that approximately 60,000 people employed in the education system want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 next week. According to the minister, in a first phase, the teaching staff from primary, secondary, high school and university education benefit from priority vaccination in mobile centers. He has stated that more than 200,000 employees in the education system have expressed their readiness for vaccination. 42,000 have already been vaccinated. In another development, about 1,600 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday. In total, since the beginning of the pandemic in Romania, about a year ago, over 780,000 cases of infection have been registered in this country.



COVID-19 IN THE WORLD - Some 112 million infections with COVID-19 have been confirmed in the world, in addition to 2.5 million related fatalities. European states have intensified their efforts to combat the spread of the strains of coronavirus. Italy has extended travel restrictions between regions until March 27 due to an increase in the infection rate. In turn, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a timetable for lifting the hard lockdown in this country in an effort to restart the British economy. The British official expects things to return to their normal track at the end of June.



PROTESTS - The miners will receive their due salaries and benefits in three installments, the Romanian Labor Minister Raluca Turcan gave assurances at the end of Monday's talks with leaders of the coal miners' trade unions, who have been protesting in Jiu Valley for several days. On February 25 and 26 the Government will disburse additional funds to pay the miners' overdue salary rights, as well as part of their benefits, such as meal vouchers and transport subsidies, Minister Turcan said. The Romanian official said this solution allows the Hunedoara Energy Power Plant to reorganize its activity within three months. The 70 miners protesting in underground shafts in Lupeni on Monday decided to resurface and end their protest. The decision was taken following talks in Bucharest between trade union representatives and the Ministers of Labor and Energy.



MIGRANTS - The Romanian Border Police discovered 18 migrants originating from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, while crossing the Danube onboard a boat from Romania to Serbia. Ten migrants were underage. The boat was navigated by two Syrian nationals who returned to Serbia and who received some €1,500 per each migrant to take them across the border. The Romanian Border Police is investigating the case trying to ascertain the extent of the crime before taking action in this matter.



FAC - The Romanian Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu, on Monday attended a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Brussels. Talks focused on relations with Moscow. According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Minister Aurescu pointed out that EU-Russia relations are at a turning point, as Russia has become increasingly assertive in its relations with EU institutions and member states. Minister Aurescu called for introducing new restrictions on Russia amidst the deteriorating human rights context in this country, including the developments in the case of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Bogdan Aurescu said the EU needs a more strategic approach to relations with Russia, including in a regional key. Ahead of the meeting,  Aurescu and European counterparts took part in an informal meeting with representatives of the team of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny. On Saturday, Navalny, listed as the Kremlin's main political opponent, received two sentences in a single day: two and a half years in prison, in a fraud case, which he says was politically fabricated, and a €9,500 fine, on charges of defaming a supporter of President Vladimir Putin, a nonagenarian veteran of the Soviet army in World War II. On the sidelines of the FAC meeting, Minister Aurescu highlighted the need for a firmer political cooperation with ex-Soviet states in the Eastern Partnership, including the Republic of Moldova. In a videoconference with EU Ministers and US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Bogdan Aurescu underlined the need for close EU-US cooperation in regional dossiers, such as the Eastern Vicinity, the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans.



MOLDOVA - The Republic of Moldova will receive €15 million from the EU to help combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Radio Chişinău, the pro-European president, Maia Sandu, said the money will be allocated to the hardest-hit sectors, such as healthcare, agriculture and SMEs. President Sandu promised she would call on the relevant institutions to monitor the money trail, in order to make sure the funds reach the destination. On Friday, Romania sent a new humanitarian aid package to neighboring Moldova consisting in medical and protection equipment to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a press release issued by the Moldovan Presidency, the donated equipment, whose value stands at some €2.3 million, consists in 1.5 million surgical masks, 100,000 FFP3 masks, 100,000 isolation gowns and 100,000 single-use gloves.



TENNIS - Romanian tennis player Simona Halep went down to third place in the world ranking of professional tennis players (WTA), published today. The second position is now held by the Japanese Naomi Osaka, who won the title at the Australian Open on Saturday. We recall that Halep stopped in the quarterfinals of the first grand slam tournament of the year. The Australian Ashleigh Barty remains the WTA leader. Romania has 4 more representatives in the top 100: Patricia Ţig, Sorana Cîrstea, Irina Begu and Ana Bogdan. (M.I & V.P.)



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Publicat: 2021-02-22 19:46:00
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