Covid-19 Romania – The Strategic Communication Group announced on Saturday a new record of COVID-19 cases reported in one single day since the onset of the pandemic in late February. 3,517 people have tested positive in 24 hours following the testing of 29,284 people. 59 new deaths have been reported which takes the total death toll to 5,358. So far 152,403 cases of contamination have been reported since the start of the pandemic and almost 117 thousand people have recovered. 629 patients are currently in ICUs. President Klaus Iohannis said he did not want to return to a state of emergency and that restrictive measures should be imposed if there is no other solution left. Also on Saturday several hundred people have responded to an appeal launched on social networks and protested in downtown Bucharest against the measures taken by the authorities to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The protesters chanted slogans against the government, the president and the head of the Department for Emergency Situations. Most of them did not wear protective masks and did not keep the required physical distance.
Elections - Sunday sees partial local elections in one city and three communes from Romania where a mayor could not be elected on September 27. In the three communes the candidates on the 1st and 2nd place did not get a majority of votes while in the city of Moldova Noua (southwest) the elections were invalidated due to procedural irregularities. We recall that the Social Democrat Gabriela Firea lost the Bucharest mayoral seat to independent Nicusor Dan, supported by the governing National Liberal Party - PNL and the Save Romania Union - USR. The candidates supported by the PNL and USR have won 3 of Bucharest’s 6 sectors. Across Romania, the Social Democratic Party PSD won 20 county councils, PNL 17 and the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania UDMR 4.
Resignation – The president of the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering Laurentiu Baranga has resigned, the Romanian Public Finance Ministry announced on Saturday. Appointed to the position last month for a period of 4 years Baranga has been accused of having forged his Baccalaureate diploma, and consequently cashed undue benefits from some of his employers. The investigation is run by the Romanian Police General Inspectorate.
Cooperation – The Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca, who is paying a visit to Washington, met with Mark R. Vandroff, the Deputy Assistant to the US President and Director for Defense Policy and Strategy at National Security Council. Mark Vandroff highlighted Romania’s contribution to NATO’s missions and operations, underlining that it is a model ally in the Black Sea region, with a major strategic relevance. Also in Washington, the Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca met with the director of Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Heidi Grant, as well as with representatives of Americna defense industry companies. The Romanian official underlined the importance of bilateral cooperation in the defense field and highlighted Romania’s potential in key domains such as cybernetics and IT for developing new military equipment. Minister Ciuca also reiterated Bucharest’s commitment to allot 2% of the GDP for defense and for implementing robust military capabilities able to respond to the national security requirements, in line with the NATO standards.
Football – Romania’s national football team plays the Norwegian eleven on Sunday evening, away from home, in a new match in the Nations’ League Group 1B. Romania’s team is group leader after in September they drew the match with Northern Ireland and defeated Austria 3-2. On Thursday evening, the Romanian footballers failed to qualify to the continental final tournament due next year after losing 1-2, away from home, the match against Iceland in the playoffs semifinals. (tr. L. Simion)