COVID-19 Following tests conducted at national level, 1,639 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection have been reported in Romania as against the previous reporting. 41 people died taking the death toll to 4,591. 506 persons infected with the new coronavirus are in ICUs. The health minister Nelu Tataru announced that 103 million face masks have been distributed across the country for the disadvantaged. He added that he did not expect a new state of emergency to be declared, which would force people to isolate themselves in their homes, and urged people to observe the rules for preventing the spread of the new coronavirus. Minister Tataru warned that if people failed to observe the rules the number of cases of infection would definitely grow.
PANDEMIC There are more than 32 million cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection around the world, with 980,000 people having been killed by the virus, according to worldometers.info. In France, the daily rise in the number of infections has brought restrictions back. The health minister Olivier Véran says the situation has worsened in the past two weeks, the spread of the virus being more intense in big urban agglomerations. Marseille and its metropolitan area are currently on high alert and as of Monday firm restrictions have been implemented for at least 2 weeks: bars, restaurants and cafes as well as other public areas were closed, with several exceptions, and most people returned to working from home. In Spain, doctors are preparing for protests after asking the government for many months, to no avail, to adopt further measures and allot more resources to avoid the collapse of the public health system, under extreme pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Israel the coronavirus ministerial committee considers necessary a total lockdown starting on Friday, due to the big number of infections.
CEI The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu Thursday attended an online meeting of the Central European Initiative, hosted by Montenegro, the acting president. Bogdan Aurescu pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic can only be overcome through international solidarity. According to a news release issued by the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Aurescu emphasised Romania’s contribution to fighting the pandemic, including the measures benefitting the Republic of Moldova, including the allocation of funds, medical teams and medical equipment, or the hosting of the RescEU strategic medical equipment reserve benefiting countries in the Western Balkans, among others. The Central European Initiative is a political platform that helps connect EU neighbouring countries to the values and standards of the Union. Romania joined the CEI, which comprises 17 countries, of which 9 are EU members, on June 1, 1996.
CORRUPTION Criminal prosecution was initiated on Thursday against the chief of the Romanian Gendarme Corps, Bogdan Enescu, charged with abuse of office. According to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, this year Bogdan Enescu was paid around 7,500 euros for extra hours, in breach of relevant legislation. Bogdan Enescu has been the head of the Romanian Gendarme Corps since December 2019. Also on Thursday, Dan Hosu, former police and husband to the acting head of the Directorate Combating Organised Crime and Terrorism, Giorgiana Hosu, received a 3-year suspended sentence from the Bucharest Court, in a case in which he is accused of inciting illegal access to a computer system and inciting the use of information not intended for publication. The ruling is not final. One day before, president Klaus Iohannis said that if the DIICOT chief’s husband was sentenced, there would be consequences. Giorgiana Hosu was appointed to office this year by the president, in spite of a negative opinion on the matter by the Higher Council of Magistrates.
TENNIS Three Romanian players, Monica Niculescu, Irina Bara and Elena Gabriela Ruse, managed on Thursday to get into the final round of qualifications for the main group of the Roland Garros singles tournament. Monica Niculescu defeated Elitsa Kostova 6-0, 6-7, 6-3, and is to play next against the Russian Vera Zvonareva. Irina Bara beat Britain’s Harriet Dart 7-5, 6-2. In the last round she will take on the Dutch Richel Hogenkamp. In turn, Elena Gabriela Ruse beat American Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-2, 7-5, and will play against Barbara Haas of Austria. Five other Romanians are playing in the Roland Garros tournament - Simona Halep (seeded 1), Patricia Ţig, Irina Begu, Sorana Cîrstea and Ana Bogdan. (translated by A.M. Popescu, L. Simion)