COVID-19 4,016 new cases of COVID-19 infection were reported in Romania on Wednesday, the biggest daily figure since the start of the pandemic. The number of patients with severe forms of the disease is up, with 686 people in ICU. Another 66 COVID-19 patients died in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,601. The Government extends the state of alert by 30 days, as of October 15. The National Committee for Emergencies decided that face masks will be compulsory outdoors as well, in areas with more than 3 cases per 1,000 capita, and private events will be banned until the number of infections drops.
PRIZE The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis is awarded in Magdeburg, Germany today the Emperor Otto Prize, for “great merits in the European unification process”. According to the Romanian Presidency, the award ceremony will take place at the Magdeburg Cathedral (Magdeburger Dom, the Cathedral of Saints Maurice and Catherine), home to the tomb of Otto I the Great, Holy Roman Emperor. The Emperor Otto Prize is awarded every 2 years to personalities and organisations with outstanding merits in the European unification process and in promoting European values. It was first granted in 2005, when the city of Magdeburg celebrated 1,200 years. Former recipients include the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former president Richard von Weizsacker, former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga, as well as the former EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini. In 2015, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was the first institution to receive this award.
INCIDENTS Incidents were reported in Iasi, in the east, where the Orthodox pilgrimage to Saint Parascheva the New continues. Groups of believers clashed with the police during this event, traditionally the largest in Romania and one of the most important in Europe. After the National Committee for Emergency decided that only believers residing in Iasi may take part in the event, the Romanian Orthodox Church rated the measure as discriminatory and said the Patriarchate was not consulted. On Tuesday president Klaus Iohannis said “a direct dialogue between the 2 major authorities would lead to better solutions.” Born near Constantinople in the early 11th Century and celebrated on October 14, Saint Parascheva the New has been the patron saint of Moldavia since 1641.
AUTOMOTIVE In Romania, the market for electric and Hybrid Plug-in cars rose significantly in the first 9 months of the year compared to 2019. Statistics point to a 40% increase in electric car sales and a 140% in Hybrid Plug-in sales since the beginning of the year. On Thursday, the largest Romanian carmaker, Dacia, taken over by the French group Renault in 1999, will unveil Spring, its electric model, 7 months after releasing the first photos of the concept. Dacia Spring will be the least expensive electric car in Europe, around 3-4,000 euro cheaper than its competitors.
ELECTIONS In the Republic of Moldova the campaign for the presidential election due on November 1 continues. The latest polls indicate that only 2 out of the 8 candidates stand chances to win—the incumbent Socialist pro-Russian president Igor Dodon and the former pro-Western PM Maia Sandu, who were the main contenders in the presidential race 4 years ago as well. Radio Romania’s correspondents in Chisinau say Dodon targets ethnic minorities and Soviet supporters, whereas Sandu has to win over the extremely divided right-wing voters.
MEASURES Italy has added further exceptions from the COVID-19 rules applicable to travellers from Romania. Individuals showing no symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the ones who have not travelled to countries like Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Republic of Moldova are no longer required to self-isolate under medical supervision. Exceptions also include the travellers who transit Italy for up to 36 hours and short-term visitors who stay in the country up to 120 hours. The same exception applies to medical personnel coming into Italy to practice their profession. The new rules are in force until November 13.
FOOTBALL Romania’s football team is playing tonight in Ploiesti against Austria, in the UEFA Nations League Group 1B. On Sunday, Romania lost 0-4, away from home, to Norway. In the first 2 matches in the group, Romania drew 1-1, at home, with Northern Ireland and beat Austria 3-2. On Thursday Romania failed to qualify into next year’s European Championship final tournament, after losing 1-2 against Iceland in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Romania’s U21 team defeated Malta 4-1 (4-0), on Tuesday night in Giurgiu, in Group 8 of the European Youth Championship qualifiers. Denmark ranks first in the group with 25 points, followed by Romania with 19, Ukraine with 10, Finland with 10, Northern Ireland with 0 points and Malta with 1 point. Romania will play a decisive match on November 17 against Denmark in Ploiesti. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)