COVID-19 1,591 new cases of COVID-19 and 45 new fatalities have been reported nationwide in the last 24 hours, the Group for Strategic Communication announced on Monday. The total number of infections stands at 137,491, while the death toll stands at 5,048. 108,526 patients have recovered. There are currently 592 people in intensive care. 6,702 Romanians living abroad have tested positive for SARS CoV-2, while 126 have died. Most of these cases have been reported in Germany, Italy and Spain. The negative evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent days does not require the reintroduction of the state of emergency, authorities say, insisting however on the importance of basic health safety measures, such as the wearing of face masks, observing physical distance and rigorous hand hygiene. The head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, warned that harsher restrictions might be introduced in those areas where the infection rate has gone up significantly.
LOCAL ELECTIONS The unaffiliated candidate Nicuşor Dan, backed by the Liberals and the USR-PLUS alliance, won the election for Bucharest Mayor General with 42.81% of the votes (282,631), according to the final results of the local elections in Bucharest, posted on the home page of the Permanent Electoral Authority. The Social Democratic candidate Gabriela Firea got 37.97% of the votes, followed by Traian Băsescu, from the People’s Movement Party, with 10.99%, Florin Călinescu (Green Party) with 2.08% and Călin Popescu Tăriceanu (ALDE) with 1.49%. In the Bucharest General Council, the Social Democratic Party holds 21 seats, followed by USR - PLUS with 17, the Liberals with 12 and the People’s Movement Party with 5 seats. The turnout at the Bucharest local election on September 27 was 36.76%.
PRIME MINISTER On Monday Prime Minister Ludovic Orban tested negative for the COVID-19, but he will stay in quarantine until Thursday, working without physical contact with any other individuals, the Government announced. According to the source, the test was voluntary. The prime minister will be tested again on Thursday, 10 days after he was on a TV shooting set with a person who tested positive for the virus.
DEFENCE Romania’s Supreme Defence Council will hold an online meeting on Tuesday, chaired by president Klaus Iohannis, to look at defence and national security issues, such as a defence strategic analysis, the White Paper on Defence, the implementation plan for the national defence strategy 2020 – 2024, national security risks, threats and vulnerabilities forecast for next year, the Presidency announced. The last meeting of the Council was held in late May.
ELECTION The investigation of local election fraud allegations and the elimination of taxes for three years in the hospitality industry rank high on Parliament's agenda this week. Another topic under debate is the proposed postponement of the legislative election to March 14, 2021. The date originally set for the legislative election is December 6. Unaffiliated MP Adrian Dohotaru, who tabled this proposal, claims the legislative election should be postponed due to the alarming increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Romania and the growing pressure on the health care system.
NOBEL PRIZE The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2020 has been awarded jointly to researchers Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice "for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus." The recipients of the Nobel Prize for physics, chemistry, literature and peace will also be announced this week. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Economy will be made public on October 12. With the latter's exception, the other Nobel Prizes were created by the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the inventor of the dynamite. In 2020, each Nobel Prize will be accompanied by a $1.1 million check, which is more than in previous years. In 2019 the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to American researchers William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza and to British researcher Peter Ratcliffe for their study on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. The Nobel Awards organizers have announced that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prize recipients will most likely receive their awards in their home countries, without having to attend an award ceremony in Stockholm. (translated by A.M. Popescu, V. Palcu)