A roundup of domestic and international news.
PRINCE PHILIP - The United Kingdom is in mourning after the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Friday. The British Navy is today staging ceremonies in a number of cities in memory of Prince Philip, who served as navy officer during WW2. In London, flowers and notes have been laid by mourners at the gate of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Palace, paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh. In line with coronavirus restrictions, authorities reminded those gathered to adhere to social distancing guidelines. On the website of the Royal Family, members of the public are asked to consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes in memory of the duke. An online book of condolence is also available for the public to post their personal tributes. Union flags were half-masted at all royal residences and British government building. Upon his wish, Prince Philip will not lie in state. Instead he will lie at rest in Windsor Castle. According to the BBC, the College of Arms, which helps to organise state occasions, said the plans for the duke's funeral were "in line with custom and with His Royal Highness's wishes". Monarchs, heads of state and prime ministers across the world have sent heartfelt tributes following the death of Prince Philip, praising his exceptional public service. Princess Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, the goddaughter and niece of Prince Philip, said Queen Elisabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh remain as spiritual models and fundamental sources of inspiration for today’s generation. In his turn, President Klaus Iohannis said in his message that Romania stands with the Royal Family and the British people in this time of sorrow and that he is confident that history will honor Prince Philip’s contribution.
CORONAVIRUS – Romania exceeded, on Saturday, 1 million cases of coronavirus, after more than 4,300 new infections have been reported. 1,492 patients are in intensive care. Many patients are being treated in emergency rooms instead of ICUs, given that the latter are already packed and an increasing number of hospitals can no longer take in patients. Another 139 deaths from Covid-related conditions have been reported, bringing the death toll to over 25,000 since the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, the government extended the state of alert in Romania by a further 30 days but announced restrictions will be eased for the upcoming Orthodox Easter so that people can attend the Easter service in church. Some restrictions are also eased for Muslims during the Ramadan. So far, over 2.2 million people have been given at least one shot of the Covid vaccine in Romania.
ASTRA-ZENECA - France has decided to offer an alternative vaccin to people aged below 60 who got the first shot of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Spain intends to do the same thing, although the WHO announced that, in the absence of clear data, it cannot recommend the change of vaccin between the two doses. Italy goes ahead with the Astra Zeneca vaccination schedule, but, just like a number of other countries, restricted its use for people aged below 60, according to radio Romania’s correspondent to Rome. A link between AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine and rare blood clots is considered plausible but is not confirmed, said the World Health Organisation after the European Medicines Agency on Wednesday said it found a potential link between the Covid vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and rare blood clots in adults who received this jab. The Agency emphasized, however, that the benefits outweigh the risks. Astra Zeneca has recently announced delays for half of its vaccine supplies due to be distributed to the EU this week.
UPDATE - The National Committee for Emergencies has updated the list of states and territories with high epidemiological risk. Travelers arriving from these countries are required to enter a 14-day quarantine. 44 states are on the list, including France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Turkey. Italy, Greece, the UK and Germany are not on the list. The decision takes effect starting April 13.
AID - Romania sent 310,000 protective masks to Serbia, to help the authorities in this neighbouring country cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The masks are part of a strategic medical equipment reserve set up at EU level in the context of the sanitary crisis. This reserve is hosted by a number of European countries, Romania included. The medical equipment was purchased by Romania based on a 10-million euro loan signed with the European Commission. A convoy of the Arad Inspectorate for Emergencies is ensuring the transport, whose cost will be entirely covered by the Commission through the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism.
TENNIS - The Romanian-German pair Mihaela Buzărnescu and Anna-Lena Friedsam is today facing the pair Elixane Lechemia (France)/Ingrid Neel (USA), in the doubles final at a WTA tennis tournament in Bogota worth 235,000 dollars in prize money. They defeated on Friday the Australian-Dutch pair Arina Rodionova and Rosalie van der Hoek in two sets, 7-5, 6-1. (EE)