Covid-19 RO. The Covid-19 epidemic is currently growing stronger in Romania. For the first time, more than 9,000 new cases were reported in one week. The rate of positive results against the total number of tests performed increased and the transmissibility index is higher than 1. The most recent report indicates 1059 new cases of infection in the past 24 hours. The total number of deaths, from the end of February until now, has reached 4,503. There are currently 496 patients in intensive care, out of a total of over 7,200 in hospitals. However, authorities say that if measures are taken to prevent the virus from spreading, the number might drop from mid next month. On the other hand, one week after the start of the school year, cases of students and teachers diagnosed with Covid-19 have already been reported. Data published by the Ministry of Education show, though, that the number of schools that offer courses exclusively online has decreased and that of the units in which the courses are held in a hybrid system has increased. We remind you that schools in Romania operate on the basis of three scenarios: green, which involves the physical presence in school, yellow, which combines classical and online education, and red - distance learning.
Pandemic. The number of cases of Covid-19, globally, is close to 31.5 million, and the number of deaths stands at 970 thousand. More than 23.1 million people have been cured, according to the latest data published on the worldometers.info platform. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is addressing the nation today to announce new measures to counteract the coronavirus after the alert level for COVID-19 has risen from 3 to 4, which means that the transmission is growing exponentially. In Spain, which reports about 3,000 new cases a day, travel restrictions apply in several localities and much of the capital this week to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Italy has decided to introduce tests to detect the infection with coronavirus for all citizens coming from the red zones of France. US President Donald Trump has said that the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed nearly 200,000 lives in the United States, does not affect young people, but only the elderly who suffer from heart disease or other ailments, which has been contradicted by data provided by health experts. On the other hand, the World Health Organization has announced that it wants to have 2 billion doses of vaccine available by the end of next year. The goal is for most people in all countries to be vaccinated, not all people in just a few countries, says WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus. More than 60 rich countries, including neither China nor the United States, have joined a WHO-implemented device to facilitate poor countries' access to a vaccine against the new coronavirus.
Budget. The Romanian Parliament gathers today to debate and vote on the budget adjustment bill, a draft that differs substantially from the one submitted by the government, after, in committees, the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, introduced amendments with a considerable budgetary impact and which the Liberal executive said could not be sustained by the economy. The amendments adopted by the joint budget committees aim to increase the pension point by 40% from 1 September, and not by 12%, as proposed by the government. The Social Democrats also voted to increase teachers' salaries this year and allocate additional money to local authorities. The Social Democrats believe that the sums for raising pensions can be found in measures that the government can take in the future, including by creating new jobs or recovering arrears. Instead, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban explained that the changes adopted in the committees run counter to Romania's interests. These involve a total expenditure surplus of 6.3% of the GDP, the prime minister said, adding that all available constitutional and legal instruments will be used, including a new adjustment, to prevent them from entering into force. Moreover, he has stated that the budget "can no longer afford to increase spending at the moment" and called on all political forces not to support in Parliament the report of the specialized committees on budget adjustment.
Central Bank. The National Bank of Romania has issued a warning about the risks of a 40% increase in pensions. According to the Convergence Analysis Report, published on the NBR website, this measure would increase the budget deficit next year to over 11% of the GDP. A high systemic risk is possible by worsening the state of the public budget, followed by a reaction of the financial markets that could seriously affect the economy, making it difficult to return in 2021, Central Bank specialists say. "Instead of an orderly correction over several years, we would be forced to a disorderly correction, which will be very costly economically and socially" , the report also reads.
Open Skies. A joint mission of Romania, France and Germany is conducting an observation flight in Russia until Friday, part of the "Open Skies" agreement with Moscow. The flight is performed on board a Romanian specialized aircraft Antonov 30, unarmed and equipped with aerial photography equipment. The plane and equipment were certified internationally, including with the participation of Russian specialists, which excludes their use for purposes other than those provided. During the flight, whose route is agreed with the Russian side, Russian specialists will be on board the plane, who will control the observance of the mission parameters and the use of the equipment. The Open Skies Agreement was signed in 1992, after the end of the Cold War, by 23 OSCE member states, as a measure to increase confidence in arms control and compliance with disarmament agreements. In recent years, Russia and the United States have accused each other of violating the agreement, so that in May this year the United States announced its withdrawal from the agreement within six months. The decision has been criticized by a majority of European NATO members, while Russia has said it will remain part of the agreement.
Tennis. Romanian Simona Halep consolidated her second position in the world ranking of professional tennis players (WTA), announced on Monday, after winning the title at the Premier 5 tournament in Rome. It is the third tournament won by Simona Halep this year, after those in Dubai and Prague. Halep is now less than 1,500 points behind leader Ashleigh Barty, who will not be taking part in the Roland Garros tournament, so the Romanian could return to the first position. Four other Romanians are in the top 100, Patricia Ţig, who remains on 58th , Irina Begu, who climbed five places and is 72nd, Sorana Cîrstea, who went down one step to 83rd, and Ana Bogdan, on 93rd position. (M. Ignatescu)