COVID-19 All county and city hospitals in Romania that are not currently treating COVID-19 patients will have to set aside beds for coronavirus patients, in case the pandemic requires additional capacities. According to the health minister Nelu Tătaru, each hospital will have to earmark 10% of the ICU capacity and 15% of the other wards for this purpose. On Thursday Bucharest extended the state of alert by another 30 days. 4,013 new cases were reported in the 24 hours since the previous update in Romania, taking the total number to 168,490, according to the Strategic Communication Group. Thursday was the second day in a row with more that 4,000 cases in Romania. Authorities also announced 73 deaths, which takes the death toll to 5,674. A new negative record of 721 patients are currently in intensive care.
PANDEMIC Europe has reported the largest weekly number of coronavirus cases so far, and the World Health Organisation warns that daily death tolls may be in April 2021 4-5 times higher than this spring. Seventeen countries, including Romania, out of the 27 member states plus the UK are included in a European “red zone”. After a record-high daily rate of over 30,000 new coronavirus cases, France is introducing tonight travel restrictions in Paris and other 8 major cities on maximum pandemic alert. Bars and restaurants in Catalonia, Spain are closed down for at least 2 weeks, and more restrictions are introduced to contain the epidemic. Poland closes gyms and indoor pools today, while in Ireland pubs and restaurants will only provide take away services. Hotels will no longer receive tourists, with several exceptions, and hair salons are closing. The total death toll worldwide is over 1.1 million, according to Worldometers.
SUMMIT Outlining common measures and criteria to contain the COVID-19 pandemic is the key topic discussed in Brussels today at the summit of EU heads of state and government. Participants will also discuss the social and economic impact of the pandemic and the need for economic recovery. In this context, the president of Romania Klaus Iohannis will express concerns with the steep rise in the number of COVID-19 cases at EU level, and will plead for enhanced cooperation between member states. Iohannis will also argue in favour of reinstating as soon as possible the freedom of movement in the Union, and of keeping supply flows open between member states.
VISIT The PM of Romania Ludovic Orban announced he would make an official visit to France at the end of this month, together with several other Cabinet members. The main topic on the agenda is to sign a roadmap for the Strategic Partnership between the 2 countries, but participants will also discuss military cooperation, the Romanian Government announced. Orban also said that in the first half of November he would travel to Israel, and at the end of November to Germany, but the programme of the later visit is still being discussed.
FESTIVAL In Romania, Astra Film Festival is taking place online, with 41 documentaries to be available as of today until October 25. Ten of these are competing in a section entitled “Emerging documentary voices,” and another 10 in the “Central and Eastern Europe” competition. Moreover, Romanian documentary fans may see 10 of the most highly appreciated films in the 2020 Open Air Astra Film Festival and another 11 films from the festival archive. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)