A roundup of domestic and international news.
CORONAVIRUS – The second stage of the national vaccination campaign against Covid-19 is under way in Romania. The second stage, covering a total of 6 million people, includes those aged over 65, chronic patients and people working in key-sectors. Over 697 thousand people have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and over 630 thousand have been declared healed. The death toll stands at 17,369. Patients in intensive care number 1,050.
MEASURES - People who got the second shot of the anti-Covid vaccine at least 10 days before entering Romania will no longer have to quarantine. The same measure applies to people who were in direct contact with an infected person more than 10 days after receiving the second dose of the vaccine. Also, people confirmed with SARS-CoV-2 can end their quarantine on the 10th day, provided they have a test whose result is negative. The list of countries with epidemiological risk has been updated, and no country is in the red zone anymore. 48 countries, such as Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and Germany are in the yellow zone.
WEATHER - The Bucharest authorities have given assurances there are no problems with electricity supply or natural gas stocks. The clarifications were made on a TV station by Energy Minister Virgil Popescu, in the context of extremely low temperatures reported in Romania in the past few days. The minister said, however, that record figures have been registered in terms of electricity consumption, at the same time with a drop in green energy, triggered by the lack of wind. A weather alert for very low temperatures is in place in Romania until Wednesday morning. Minimum temperatures range from minus 18 to minus 8 degrees C. The noon reading in Bucharest was minus 4 degrees celsius.
TRAFFIC – Bucharesters spent 165 hours in road congestion last year, which is almost 7 days, according to data supplied by a navigation systems producer, that also made a classification of cities with most road congestions. Bucharest ranks 18th in the world in this respect, and 9th in Europe. According to the study, a 30-minute drive through Bucharest will take an additional 19 minutes in the morning and 24 additional minutes in the afternoon.
INAUGURATION - Americans get ready for the inauguration ceremony of the president-elect Joe Biden, to be held on Wednesday in Washington DC. Some 25 thousand National Guard military have been dispatched in the city to support the police, an unprecedented level of security in the context of the violence at the Capitol on January 6. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent in Washington, the number of military dispatched around the Congress building is bigger than the number of American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria put together. After the FBI received information according to which extremists might infiltrate within the National Guard, authorities are now checking the military in the security perimeter. The President-elect Joe Biden has asked the public to stay home on Inauguration Day due to the coronavirus pandemic and for fear of new potential violence.
WHO – World Health Organisation chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus, has said the world is “on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure”, in terms of access to the Covid-19 vaccine. He explained that some countries and companies continue to prioritize bilateral deals and that, while 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer countries, only 25 doses have been given in one lowest income nation. The European Commission wants to reach a 70% vaccination target in the EU by summer. According to data centralized by worldometers.info, 96 million infections with the novel coronavirus have been reported worldwide, and the death toll is over 2 million.(Translated by E. Enache)