A new record number of daily coronavirus infections was registered last week in Romania: From Thursday to Friday, 2,343 new cases were reported, exceeding the record of 2,158 new daily infections announced on Wednesday. More than 2,000 new cases were also registered on Thursday and Saturday, and on Saturday, another record was broken: The number of patients treated in intensive care was the highest since the outbreak of COVID-19. From Saturday to Monday, only 1,591 new infections were reported, but one quarter of the tests analyzed in the last 24 hours were positive. The well-known infectious disease expert from Temesvár (Timişoara), Virgil Musta, said that “we are on the verge of life and death” after the intensive care unit of the Temesvár Infectious Diseases Hospital was filled up with coronavirus patients.
Doctor Virgil Musta, manager at the Victor Babeș Infectious Diseases Hospital in Temesvár, together with his team has cured hundreds of COVID-19 patients. The doctor transmitted a message on Facebook, asking Romanians to be more careful as the number of new cases is rising.
“The most important thing is to avoid getting infected. If you get infected, now or in a day or two, it may happen that you are sick and need to be hospitalized; but there are no beds left in the hospital. We cannot do anything; there are people who will have to remain home and not be able to get proper treatment. There are some types of medicines that you can take at home on your own, but essential medicines cannot be given at home. The intensive care unit is full. […] We are on the verge of life and death and we need to understand this and be very responsible,” Virgil Musta announced on the Facebook page of the hospital.
In Temes (Timiş) County, 158 coronavirus patients are being treated in the hospital; 17 of these are in the anesthesia and intensive care departments.
The Infectious Diseases Hospital in Temesvár is not the only one struggling: The Hargita (Hargitha) County Emergency Hospital in Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc) also announced that it is overwhelmed after the number of new coronavirus cases increased last week in the county. The institute has sent patients to hospitals in neighboring Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc), Maroshévíz (Toplița), Nagyszeben (Sibiu) and Beszterce (Bistrița).
Raed Arafat, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs and head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU), said on Saturday in Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș) that they are not considering suspending certain activities or re-introducing a curfew, but some additional measures may be adopted at a local level.
“I don’t know if there is a discussion about the introduction of the state of emergency, but, considering the increase in the number of new cases, there might be a discussion about additional measures adopted on a local level. We have always stressed that local tightening and strengthening of controls is possible because we need to control the spread of the epidemic,” the Secretary of State for Home Affairs said.
The head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU) also stressed the importance of following the rules of social distancing, proper hygiene and mask-wearing; he also pointed out that during autumn, periodic viral illnesses can appear, making those most at risk for contracting coronavirus even more vulnerable.
The importance of wearing a mask was also emphasized by the Minister of Education, Monica Anisie, over the weekend. She announced that students’ grades for their behavior may be decreased if they are not wearing masks (the behavior of each student is graded in Romania, and this grade may be decreased as a punishment – ed. note). Anisie asked teachers to warn the children to follow the rules.
“They need to tell students that they risk a reduction in their behavioral grade if they refuse to wear a mask,” observatornews.ro quoted the head of the ministry. According to Anisie, educators also need to convince students with the argument that breaking the rules endangers the lives of those around them.
Prime Minister Ludovic Orban requested Monday morning to be tested for coronavirus, after the host of a TV show he was on last week tested positive, the Government announced. All of the prime minister’s Monday meetings were canceled.
Orban was a guest on the “Dosar de politican” (“Politician Dossier”) show of B1 Television, hosted by Silviu Mănăstire last Tuesday. The journalist was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, October 5; Mănăstire announced his illness himself.
The government’s press office said a sample had been taken from the prime minister and that all his meetings are canceled until he receives the results of the coronavirus test. “Ludovic Orban showed no symptoms of the coronavirus,” the statement says. The government’s press office announced Monday afternoon that the result of the test is negative, but Prime Minister Ludovic Orban decided to stay in quarantine until Thursday.
Ludovic Orban was not the only guest of Mănăstire, the new mayor of Bucharest, Nicuşor Dan, and Health Minister Nelu Tătaru also appeared on the show last week. Nicuşor Dan already announced that he is in voluntary quarantine and will be tested for coronavirus.
Despite the possible infection and the increase in daily infections, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban insists on holding parliamentary elections on December 6.
Preparations for the December parliamentary elections have begun in accordance with current legal regulations and government decrees, the Prime Minister announced in a show on Romania TV on Saturday evening. Orban also said that the law authorizing the parliament to announce the date of the elections could not enter into force yet, as the Constitutional Court had not yet published the reasons for its decision in this regard. Until this legislation enters into force, it will not be possible to discuss the draft submitted by independent deputy Adrian Dohotaru, which would postpone the parliamentary elections until March 14, Orban said.
From Saturday to Monday, another 1,591 new infections were reported, bringing Romania’s total number of coronavirus cases to 137,491. Out of this figure, 108,526 people have been declared fully cured, while 5,048 died due to the pandemic. According to GCS, 2,516,746 tests have been processed nationwide in Romania, out of which 6,534 were performed in the last 24 hours.
Title image: One quarter or 1,591 of the 6,534 tests performed in the last 24 hours were positive. Photo: Getty Images