A highlight of the week's most important events.
Romania, faced with a surge in the number of coronavirus infections
The number of new infections with Covid-19 goes up in an alarming manner. Authorities announce new negative records every day, with thousands of new cases and dozens of deaths. Hundreds of people are treated in ICUs, which are already full and can hardly take in new patients. Bucharest continues to have the highest infection rate and has entered the red scenario after more than 3 infections per 1 thousand citizens have been confirmed in the last 14 days. Wearing face masks at all times, both indoors and outdoors in all public spaces became compulsory as of Tuesday, for the next two weeks. The indoor activity of restaurants, coffee shops, theatre halls and cinemas was banned and schools switched exclusively to online classes. Other localities in Romania, with a big number of new infections, have also entered the red scenario. On Thursday, the Government adopted a draft emergency order under which parents staying at home with their children after schools were closed due to the pandemic can receive paid time off from work. The Government has also taken measures to increase the testing capacity for infected patients. Around 200 physicians, who completed their internship, will work in the intensive care, emergency, infectious diseases, epidemiology and radiology units. The number of ICU beds in the capital Bucharest will be supplemented. Other counties have also announced similar measures.
Support for Romanian economy in the context of pandemic
The Romanian government adopted a draft emergency order that allows for the rescheduling of companies’ debt payment, for debts incurred by the introduction of the state of emergency on March 16 and until October 25. Companies can submit debt rescheduling applications until December 15. Finance Minister Florin Citu has said that there will be no foreclosures until December 25. He also said that, after talks with the companies, the deadline for VAT return, with subsequent control, will be extended until January 25. At the same time, hundreds of Romanian companies will benefit a new financing, from the European Investment Bank, worth 190 million euro, to support the sectors most affected by the pandemic. Ensuring access to financing is vital, in order to protect jobs, facilitate economic growth and unlock investment.
Candidate lists for Parliament, closed on Thusrday
Thursday was the deadline for entering candidacies for the parliamentary elections in Romania, due on December 6. PM Ludovic Orban, the leader of the National Liberal Party, in power, opens the candidate list in Bucharest for the Chamber of Deputies, while the list for the Senate opens with Finance Minister Florin Citu. Most current ministers run for a MP seat. The Social Democrats, in the opposition, who hold most seats in Parliament at present, have on their list, among others, two renowned physicians involved in the fight against the coronavirus, namely, Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s representative with the WHO and Adrian Streinu-Cercel, the head of the Matei Bals Institute of Infectious Diseases. Thursday was also the last day when Romanians in the Diaspora could register for postal voting at the parliamentary elections. Their number exceeded 39,000.
Romanian Foreign Minister, on visit to the US
The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu had political consultations in Washington with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on which occasion he welcomed the United States’ intention to strengthen its military presence in Romania. The American official appreciated the several decade-long partnership between the two states, recently illustrated by the intergovernmental agreement signed on October 9th for revamping and building a new reactor for the Cernavodă nuclear power plant in south-eastern Romania. The two officials discussed ways to strengthen relations in the field of defence, to enhance energy security in Europe by means of Black Sea gas development. They also tackled a stronger US involvement, including financial involvement, in projects targeting the interconnection of the north and south of the region, with both economic benefits and with a strategic impact on military mobility. On the other hand, Bucharest and Washington will have a joint task force working for Romania’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver programme, which allows participants to stay in the US for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days, without a visa.
Romania’s football champions CFR Cluj have a good start in Europa League
Romania's football champions CFR Cluj on Thursday defeated CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria nil-2 away from home in the first group fixture in Europa League. Mario Rondon scored the first goal for CFR on minute 53, while Ciprian Deac scored the second goal from penalty kick. The match was played in front of a 12,000-strong crowd. The Romanians will be up against Young Boys Berne of Switzerland, on home turf. CFR Cluj is Romania’s last representative in this year’s edition of the European football cups.
(Translated by Elena Enache)