COVID-19 Romanian authorities have reported another 1,333 coronavirus infections out of over 23,000 tests, as well as 42 new deaths. The number of patients in intensive care is 461. Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in Romania is 111,550. Of them, 89,119 have recovered, and 4,402 died. The European Commission recommends extensive testing to identify COVID-19 cases as quickly as possible, and suggests a common strategy across the EU. Brussels has included Romania in a list of 6 countries where testing is based on a priority system because of inadequate testing capabilities. 18 member states use a compulsory testing system, whereas other countries encourage voluntary testing.
PROTEST A protest was held in Bucharest on Saturday, against the protection measures introduced in schools in the new academic year. The participants oppose all healthcare recommendations, including face masks and physical distancing, and dismiss the studies that prove the efficiency of these measures and even the risks posed by the COVID-19. Gendarmes warned the protesters that they were breaking the rule banning outdoor events attended by more than 100 people during the state of alert, and reminded them of the obligation to wear face coverings and maintain physical distance from each other.
ELECTIONS The Central Electoral Bureau has made a number of decisions to be implemented in next Sunday’s local elections in Romania. Among other things, a ballot will be considered valid even if the stamp exceeds the margins of a specific rubric in the form, provided that the voter’s choice is clear. Also, a person may vote even if the electronic monitoring system warns that the person in question has already voted. However, the person must sign a form acknowledging that if found guilty of voting fraud, the sentence is prison or a fine. In the September 27th ballot, Romania will elect 41 county council presidents, some 3,200 mayors, over 1,300 county councilors and over 40,000 local councillors. The local election, originally scheduled for June, was postponed over the COVID-19 pandemic, and local elected officials had their terms extended by half a year. Special voting rules in be in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The next election in Romania is the parliamentary election scheduled for December 6.
CLIMATE Romanian farmers must adapt quickly to the effects of climate change. A new farming season has started this month, following a long drought, and weather experts warn that such periods will be increasingly frequent. In a statement for Radio Romania, the head of the National Meteorology Agency, Elena Mateescu, said farmers should replace sowing technologies, focus on plant species that are resistant to higher temperatures and have shorter growth periods. Also, Elena Mateescu argues, the farming calendar should be delayed. According to official data, around 1 million hectares of crops have been destroyed by drought this year.
MARATHON Around 1,500 people, both children and adults, are taking part in the 5th edition of a marathon entitled "Black Sea 24-hours Autism," held in Romania this weekend. The race started at the same time in around 100 locations in the country. The competing teams are running for a humanitarian cause in their local community. The routes—beachers, forests, parks—are monitored by judges and the data are centralized by the organizer of the competition, the Black Sea Psychology Centre in Constanţa (south-eastern Romania). The minimum requirement is to complete 100 km, with each km rewarded with a specific amount of money. This year the money will go not only to children with autism spectrum disorders, but also to other causes, such as building a home for a single mother of 6, supporting day care centres and buying school books for children with disabilities.
TENNIS The Romanian Simona Halep, number 2 in the world, Saturday qualified into the semi-finals of the WTA tournament in Rome, after the Kazakh Yulia Putintseva (30 WTA) retired. Also on Saturday, Raluca Olaru (Romania) and Anna-Lena Friedsam (Germany) moved up into doubles final, having outplayed the Japanese Shuko Aoyama / Ena Shibahara. The tournament in Rome is held without a live audience, and competitors have to observe strict rules to prevent coronavirus infections.
ATHLETICS The Balkan Association of Athletics Federations, jointly with the Romanian Athletics Federation, organise this weekend in Cluj-Napoca (north-west), the 73rd Balkan Outdoor Athletics Championships. Taking part are Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Romania is represented by 64 athletes. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)