Vaccination campaign - The second stage of the national vaccination campaign against Covid-19 is currently under way in Romania. Valeriu Gheorghiță, the campaign coordinator, announced on Tuesday, in a press conference, that Romania has contracted sufficient vaccine doses, and starting with the second quarter of the tear, the number of delivered doses will increase significantly. He added that 299 vaccination centers were opened across the country in the second stage of the campaign. Over 233 thousand Romanians have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the start of the campaign, on December 27, and over 800 common and minor side effects have been registered. The second stage targets people over 65, people with chronic diseases and employees in key areas. About 6 million Romanians have the right to be vaccinated in this stage. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 697,000 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the country and more than 630,000 patients have recovered, according to the Strategic Communication Group. Most new cases of COVID-19 are registered in Bucharest. The total number of Covid-19-associated deaths is 17,369. 1,050 patients are currently in ICUs.
Travel conditions – The persons who have received the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least 10 days before coming to Romanian will no longer be quarantined, the National Committee for Emergency Situations announced. The Committee established the same conditions for those who were in direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person more than 10 days after being vaccinated with the second dose. Also, people confirmed with SARS-CoV-2 might end the quarantine period on the 10th day if they take a test and the result is negative. Children traveling with vaccinated parents to countries with a high incidence of COVID-19 will be quarantined for ten days upon returning to Romania, as they can risk spreading the disease, said Florentina Furtunescu, a representative of the National Public Health Institute. In another development, the list of states with an epidemiological risk has been updated. Thus, no country is in the red zone, and the yellow zone includes 48 countries, among which the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.
Statistics - The National Strategy and Forecast Committee has revised slightly downwards Romania's economic growth in 2021 from 4.5%, as estimated last autumn, to 4.3%. The Committee also forecasts private consumption rate of only 3.7%, as against 4.6% as estimated in the autumn, and a trade deficit of minus 21.4 billion Euros, slightly higher than the autumn forecast. The average exchange rate this year is going to be 4.89 lei per 1 Euro, as compared to the autumn estimate. The end-of-the-year inflation is forecast at 2.2%, slightly lower than the previous estimate of 2.5%.
Brussels – The President of the Republic of Moldova, pro-Western Maia Sandu, said that she managed to unblock the dialogue with the European Union, affected by the policy of her pro-Russian predecessor, Igor Dodon. Maia Sandu met on Monday and Tuesday, during her official visit to Brussels, with the most important European leaders, emphasizing that the EU is the main partner of the Republic of Moldova in the fight against corruption, in reforming institutions and in strengthening the rule of law, according to Radio Chisinau. Maia Sandu had a meeting with the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, during which they tackled the political developments in Chisinau and the reforms on the European agenda of Rep. Moldova. The Moldovan President also met with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who assured her that she could count on the Union's support in the reform process and in the anti-corruption fight. During the meeting with the Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, the two officials agreed on re-establishing the complex political dialogue between Chisinau and Brussels and discussed ways to have a more active cooperation on regional security.
Ambassador – The US Ambassador to Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman, on Tuesday met with the Romanian Prime Minister Florin Cîţu, at the end of the American diplomat's mandate. Adrian Zuckerman was accompanied by the deputy head of the Diplomatic Mission, David Muniz, who will become "Chargé d'Affaires" after the ambassador’s departure, on January 20, shows a press release of the US Embassy in Bucharest. The talks of the three officials focused on the progress reported in the past year in the bilateral relationship and on the continuation of cooperation on numerous projects, including the one on the Cernavoda nuclear power plant (in southeastern Romania). The Romanian prime minister thanked Ambassador Zuckerman for his involvement in the bilateral relationship, adding that he was looking forward to working with David Muniz. The latter assured PM Cîțu that the Romanian-American relationship would remain close under the Biden Administration and expressed his interest in further strengthening the Strategic Partnership. (tr. L.Simion)