COVID-19 In Romania, another 1,145 coronavirus infections were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic up to 61,768. More than 30,000 patients have recovered. The Strategic Communication Group announced that 458 patients are still in intensive care. The death toll of the pandemic in Romania is 2,700, with 41 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The first COVID-19 case in the country was confirmed on February 26. The authorities urge citizens to get information from official sources only. Romania requested 10 million vaccine doses, when one is available, the health minister Nelu Tătaru announced. He added the vaccine will primarily be given to healthcare staff, to the elderly and people with previous conditions. Tǎtaru also warned that many cases are confirmed among tourists returning from their holidays, and reminded that the number of cases depends to a great extent on people’s compliance with face covering and distancing requirements. Apart from tourism, the health minister added, a number of other major risks have been identified, including business activities and regional commuting and transport. Tǎtaru expects a steady number of new cases next week, rather than an increase, but warned that the situation depends entirely on people observing protection rules.
PANDEMIC Meanwhile, in spite of international and local efforts, the covonavirus continues to spread. worldometers.info reports at least 19.8 million cases worldwide, over 729,000 deaths, and at least 12.7 million patients recovered since the first case was reported in China 7 months ago. The worst hit country is the USA, which currently has over 5.1 million cases and over 165,000 deaths. Problems are still reported in Europe, with Britain still the worst affected (46,000 deaths), followed by Italy (35,000), France (30,000) and Spain (28,000). Many countries are stepping up efforts to create a vaccine. Singapore is starting human trials next week, in a first stage that would take until October. In Israel trials will also begin soon, while Russia announced it was producing 2 vaccines to be distributed this month—an announcement received with reserve by the World Health Organisation. The US has recently increased investments to support a potential vaccine currently in the last stage of clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies around the world have signed contracts with countries like Canada, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands for experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
TIFF Today brings the last screenings as part of the Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj-Napoca. On Saturday night, the winners of this year’s edition were announced, in an event where the director Cristi Puiu caused a stir when he urged people to take off their protection masks. At the opening of his latest movie, “Malmkrog”, Puiu argued that it is “inhuman” to have people watch a 200-minute long film with their faces covered. The Transilvania trophy went to ''Babyteeth," the debut feature of the Australian director Shannon Murphy. The award gala was held for the first time outdoors, in the Union Square in Cluj-Napoca, as were all the around 140 film screenings this year.
LEBANON The leaders of the world’s most powerful states are discussing today, in a conference call initiated by France and the UN, means to raise aid for Lebanon, after the massive explosion that ravaged Beirut. The US president Donald Trump said he planned to join the call. Several countries promised millions of US dollars in aid and sent vessels, healthcare workers and materials to help. Romania has joined the international relief effort. Nearly 8 tonnes of medical materials and pharmaceuticals were donated and shipped on Saturday from Romania to Lebanon. Authorities estimate the blast caused losses of up to 15 billion dollars. At least 158 people died, 5,000 were injured and 300 lost their homes. On Saturday several thousand people took to the streets, and clashes with the police were reported. Lebanon’s PM Hassan Diab said he would push for early elections. Lebanon was already in a major economic crisis and struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.
NAGASAKI The mayor of the Japanese city of Nagasaki urged the government to take more steps to eradicate atomic bombs in the world. Tomihisa Taue gave an address during the commemoration of the 1945 American attack on the city, which killed over 80,000 people, and said that as the only country in the world to experience the devastating effects of nuclear weapons, Japan should sign and ratify as soon as possible the agreement prohibiting nuclear weapons. On August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb nearly obliterated Japan’s fourth-largest city, after on August 6 another bomb had killed over 140,000 in Hiroshima. (translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)