Pandemic. 1,378 new infections with the novel coronavirus and 50 deaths were reported in Romania in the past 24 hours. 446 patients are in intensive care. More than 59,000 coronavirus infections have been confirmed in the country since the start of the pandemic five months ago. Almost 29,000 people have recovered. The capital Bucharest and the counties of Prahova and Arges have reported the biggest number of new infections. Doctor Alexandru Rafila, a microbiologist and Romania's representative at the World Health Organisation, says the disease has spread rapidly since the state of emergency was lifted. Rafila has said on Radio Romania that, unless the number of new infections drops, the Romanian medical system will find itself in a very difficult situation.
Challenge. The Romanian Ombudsman Renate Weber challenged on Friday, at the Constitutional Court, two articles from the new quarantine law regarding "isolation in a health unit or alternative location attached to the health unit", mandatory for 48 hours. In her notification, the Ombudsman states that the provisions of the contested law violate previous decisions given by the RCC and, in addition, the rules of the ECHR. In her opinion, hospitalization of patients should be a last resort. In reply, Liberal Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said that this action represents "an attack against Romania's fundamental interests".
Government. Next week, the Romanian Government will adopt the draft ordinance on budget adjustment, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced on Friday. It is the second adjustment this year, after the one in April, during the state of emergency. The PM stressed that the economic situation in Romania "is not one of the best". Together with the Minister of Finance, Florin Cîțu, a discussion will take place on Monday with each authorizing officer, to see where there are different points of view, Ludovic Orban also said that the Ungheni - Chisinau gas pipeline is ready, which means there is the possibility of supplying natural gas from Romania to the Republic of Moldova
Elections. In Romania, candidacies for the local elections due this fall can be submitted until August 18. Local elections should have taken place in June, but have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Bucharest Parliament decided, in mid-June, to extend the mandate of locally-elected authorities until November 1st. At the beginning of July, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies passed the law setting September 27 as the date for local elections.
Georgia. Romania reaffirms its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, the MFA said on Friday. After the First World War, in the conditions of the dismantling of the Russian Empire, Romania recognized in 1921 the independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. On 27 August 1991, the Government of Bucharest welcomed the "Declaration of the Parliament of the Republic of Georgia on the Restoration of State Independence" and expressed its readiness to develop friendly and collaborative relations on the basis of the UN Charter and the principles of international law. At the same time, Romania was the first state to recognize the restoration of Georgia's independence. Between 2015 and 2016, the Romanian Embassy in Tbilisi exercised the second consecutive mandate of the NATO Contact Point Embassy, an element able to strengthen Bucharest's efforts to support Georgia's aspirations to become a member of the Euro-Atlantic community and to share its expertise in this process, states the quoted source.
Beirut. Anti-government protests continue in Beirut, where civilians have clashed with Lebanese security forces. Officers deployed tear gas on dozens of people near parliament, on Thursday evening. Protesters want the change of the political class which they see as incompetent and corrupt. Demonstrators were angered by Tuesday's devastating blast, which officials say was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely since 2013. The explosion killed at least 149 people and injured about 5,000 others. At least 16 port and customs authorities have been arrested.
TIFF. The 19th edition of the Transylvania International Film Festival, the largest event dedicated to Romanian feature film, continues, until August 9, in several locations in Cluj-Napoca (northwest) and its surroundings. On Friday evening, just before the official premiere on television, the audience had the opportunity to watch the first two episodes of the original production "Tuff Money", written and directed by Daniel Sandu, a humorous story about an unusual robbery. The documentary "Colectiv", directed by Alexander Nanău, will also have a special screening. Produced during the catastrophic floods of 1970, the documentary "Water as a Black Buffalo" is considered the film-manifesto of a whole generation of Romanian directors, such as Stere Gulea and Dan Piţa. The phenomenon of illegal logging and timber trade is the subject of "Wood", the documentary signed by Monica Lăzurean Gorgan, Michaela Kirst and Ebba Sinzinger, also screened on Friday. The festival will also host the Romanian premiere of the film "Willow" (directed by Milcho Manchevski) is scheduled, the story of three women from three different eras, whose destinies are transformed by motherhood.