COVID-19 According to the Strategic Communication Group, 2,844 new coronavirus infections were reported in the past 24 hours in Romania, with the total number of cases exceeding 212,000 in 8 months. Another 79 COVID-19 patients died, taking the death toll to 6,470. 823 patients are currently in intensive care. Bucharest reports the highest number of daily new cases, 520. Meanwhile, the National Committee for Emergencies Monday updated the list of COVID-19 high-risk countries. As of October 26, travelers coming into Romania from these countries must isolate for 14 days. The list comprises 30 countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, France, the UK, Ireland, Portugal. The US and the R. of Moldova are no longer on the list. Also today, the Committee passed a resolution clarifying that face masks can be taken off outdoors, for brief periods of time, when smoking, eating or drinking, or exercising. As of today, all schools, high schools and kindergartens in the cities of Timişoara, Sibiu and Baia Mare have switched to online classes, as the threshold of 3 COVID-19 infections per thousand inhabitants has been exceeded. Most major cities in Romania operate in the same scenario, including the capital Bucharest. In addition, face masks are compulsory in all indoor or outdoor public areas, and indoor restaurants, cafes, cinema and theatre halls are closed.
VISIT The PM of Romania Ludovic Orban is on an official visit to France on Monday and Tuesday. According to the Romanian Government, Ludovic Orban will have meetings with his French counterpart Jean Castex, with the speakers of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, and the Senate, Gerard Larcher, and with the leader of the centre-right party 'Les Republicains', Christian Jacob. The Romanian PM will also take part in a meeting of the Council of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and will have official talks with the OECD secretary general Angel Gurria. The visit also includes a meeting with members of the Romanian community in France.
ELECTIONS The date of the forthcoming parliamentary election in Romania is discussed in Parliament as of today. A bill in this respect, enabling Parliament to set the election date instead of the Government, has been returned to Parliament by president Klaus Iohannis. Most likely the election date will be December 6, as already accepted by president Iohannis and the Liberal Government. The left-of-centre opposition however favours a postponement of the parliamentary election to March 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CORRUPTION The Chamber of Deputies is discussing and voting on Tuesday on a request filed by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate to commence prosecution against Deputy Nicolae Bănicioiu, who is accused of influence peddling and continuing bribe-taking. He denied all accusations and asked the Chamber to vote on the request, which has been already approved by the Judicial Committee. A former health minister, Nicolae Bănicioiu (Social Democratic Party) is probed into in a case involving the sale of medical products to public hospitals in Bucharest and Ilfov County. Prosecutors say Bănicioiu received 2.6 million euros from 2 businessmen in exchange for appointing or keeping in office hospital managers that had signed contracts with the respective companies.
JUSTICE The Romanian Justice Minister Cătălin Predoiu said on Sunday, the European Day of Justice, that results cannot be secured without constant investments in the judicial system. He added that in the ensuing years, alongside curbing corruption, which is yet to be solved, Romania will focus on fighting organised crime and human trafficking, including child trafficking, by means of thorough investigations and tough penalties in all the cases with enough evidence. "Organised crime and human trafficking are incompatible with Romania’s EU and NATO membership," minister Predoiu argued. (translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)