COVID-19 In Romania, 3,952 new coronavirus infections were reported for the past 24 hours, according to the Strategic Communication Group. The overall number of cases is 176,468. Also, 63 more people died, taking the death toll to 5,812. A new negative record was also reported in terms of ICU patients—745. The authorities are seeking solutions to make sure as many hospitals as possible are involved in the fight against the pandemic. The head of the Department for Emergencies, Raed Arafat, said that according to experts this second wave of the pandemic may last throughout the winter. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, over 1,000 schools in the country operate exclusively online. The Education Ministry says over 11,300 schools still work in the face-to-face teaching system, while 5,235 schools use both in-person and online classes.
PANDEMIC The number of coronavirus infections worldwide is drawing near 40 million, with more than 1.1 million COVID-19-related deaths and nearly 30 million patients recovered, according to Worldometers updates. The World Health Organisation warns that several European cities are facing a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients that require intensive care. A growing number of countries announce record-high number of cases. On Saturday, the Czech Republic confirmed over 11,000 new cases, Italy almost 11,000, the Netherlands and Germany 8,000 each. In London, a ban on households mixing indoors came into force on Saturday, after on Friday 15,000 new infections were confirmed in the UK. In 10 major cities in France, including Paris and its suburbs, a curfew is in place as of Saturday between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The measure will be in place for at least 4 weeks, amid a rise in the number of daily new cases to over 25,000. New restrictions are also introduced in Warsaw and other Polish cities included in a “red-zone”: high-schools and colleges are switching to the online mode, restaurants will only be open until 9 PM, weddings are banned and the number of people entering shops, churches and public transport will be restricted.
SUMMIT The president of Romania Klaus Iohannis will take part on Monday in the Virtual Summit and Web Forum of the Three Seas Initiative, organised by Estonia. According to the Romanian Presidency, a report on smart connectivity will be released on this occasion. The Three Seas Initiative is a presidential-level political platform that brings together the 12 EU member states located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia). The initiative seeks to contribute to the economic development of the member states, by encouraging interconnectivity in 3 main sectors—transport, energy and digital, and to strengthening unity and cohesion within the EU.
DIPLOMACY Romania’s foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu has political consultations in Washington on Monday with the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, as part of a visit to the US by the Romanian official at the invitation of his American counterpart. The visit takes place in the context of this year’s celebration of 140 years of diplomatic relations between the 2 countries. According to the Foreign Ministry, this is a “good opportunity to reconfirm the main coordinates of the strategic partnership.” The talks between Bogdan Aurescu and Mike Pompeo will focus on bilateral cooperation in the political, military, energy and economic sectors, including strategic projects promoted by Romania under the Three Seas Initiative.
DEFENCE The Romanian Defence Ministry welcomes the approval by the US State Department of Romania’s application for purchase of the Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems. The clearing has been forwarded to the US Congress. The Naval Strike Missile is a sea-skimming, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile, and Romania wants to buy two of the systems under one of the 5 programmes in the Romanian Army’s upgrade plan. The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by improving Romania’s maritime defence capabilities in the Black Sea.
ATTACK The president of France Emmanuel Macron Saturday announced national commemorative events for the 47-year old teacher killed by a young Chechen on Friday in an Islamist terror attack near Paris. Samuel Paty, who taught history and geography, was attacked because during a lesson on the freedom of speech he showed his students controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu sent a condolence message to the French teacher’s family and friends and firmly condemned the gruesome attack. Aurescu emphasised that Romania and France are “united in the fight against terror.” According to the French investigators, the attacker was a legal refugee in France. (translated by: A. M. Popescu)