Inquiries into hospital fire continue./ Romania receives largest vaccine batch to date./ Other news and top stories.
patient died from among those transferred after a fire on Friday at the Matei
Balş Institute in Bucharest. The health ministry said the patient was suffering
from a severe form of Covid-19 and had many underlying conditions. A team of
prosecutors, forensic investigators and experts continues investigations at the site of the
fire. According to judicial sources, interviews are conducted with medical
staff and relatives of the 8 victims. Inquiries are also looking into the
hospital's fire safety system, electrical installations and security management.
The opposition Social Democratic Party says it will table a simple motion of no-confidence
against health minister Vlad Voiculescu next week.
Vaccine. A new
batch of Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, the largest so far,
arrived in Romania on Monday. The delivery schedule is much delayed, as in all
European countries, but the manufacturing company has given assurances that,
from the middle of this month, the number of delivered doses will increase. Monday
also saw the start of the rollout of the Moderna vaccine. So far, almost 600,000
people have been vaccinated in Romania. The total number of coronavirus infections
passed 730,000 on Monday. Some 18,400 people have died. About 1,000 patients
are receiving intensive care treatment.
Travel. The 27 EU
member states have agreed to tighten border restrictions for non-EU arrivals,
who, among others, must present a negative Covid test result conducted within
the last 72 hours. This measure will also apply to essential travel, such as
for family or business emergencies. Non-essential travel is largely banned,
with exceptions for EU citizens and their families. Many countries, such as
France and the Netherlands, already require testing before departure. Mandatory
isolation and additional testing on arrival will also be requested for arrivals
from regions where the new coronavirus variants have been identified.
new Parliament following December's elections began its first session on Monday.
The priority is the adoption of this year's budget bill. The representatives of
the governing coalition formed by the National Liberal Party, the Save Romania
Union and PLUS Alliance and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in
Romania want to initiate large-scale reforms in the field of salaries,
pensions, education and healthcare. Opposition parties say they will promote
the initiatives they talked about during the election campaign and that they
will bring more amendments to the government's bills.
Unemployment. At 4.9%, Romania has one of the
lowest unemployment rates in the European Union, according to a report by
Eurostat, the European statistics office. The highest unemployment rates in the
EU are in Spain, with 16.2%, followed by Lithuania and Italy, while the Czech
Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Malta, Germany, Slovenia, Bulgaria and
Romania have the lowest rates. In December, the unemployment rate remained at
7.5% at EU level and at 8.3% in the eurozone.
Film. Romanian filmmaker Adina Pintilie, the
winner of the 2018 Golden Bear Trophy with her film Touch Me Not will sit on
the jury of the 71st edition of the Berlin Film Festival alongside
other Golden Bear winners. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival
will take place in two stages. The titles selected in the different sections of
the festival will first be presented to film professionals and the media during
a so-called "industry event" between 1st and 5th March,
before being shown to the public during a "summer special" in June.
The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, world number two, has qualified for
the eighth finals of the Gippsland Trophy tournament in Melbourne, worth more
than 565,000 dollars in prize money. She defeated Russia's Anastasia Potapova in
straight sets to win her first match this year. On Tuesday, the second Romanian
player in this competition, Irina Begu, will be playing Aliaksandra Sasnovich
of Belarus in the second round. (CM)