Coronavirus: major events banned, students asking for school suspension

The National Council of Students of Romania asked the Minister of Education, Monica Anisie, to suspend school for two weeks in order to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus, Ziare.com reports. According to the student council, coronavirus infections represent a real national emergency, which has to be managed responsibly by the government.

The students underlined that they spend up to seven hours in school a day, so it should be mandatory to suspend courses for two weeks in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They also pointed out that schools in Romania do not have the necessary sanitary resources or safety measures to help stop the spread.

“In the last two weeks, we have faced coronavirus cases in pre-university education centers in Romania. If the suspension of schools is decided only after confirmation of the virus, that would be a very irresponsible measure from educational decision makers. Local authorities must respect the law regarding the provision of sanitary resources for schools, not only in crisis situations, but permanently in order to protect all students in Romania,” the students wrote in a press release.

The students also noted that it is very regrettable that this measure is only now on the agenda of the decision makers. They asked for the digitalization of the educational process, as well.

“The safety of the students must be prioritized, so the National Council of Students supports the digitalization of the educational process, meaning virtual courses to avoid any danger,” they write.

The Student Association of Constanța also supports the suspension in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The members of the association pointed out that the risk of contamination is high in educational environments due to the interaction between students. They also underlined that schools in 13 countries were closed earlier.

On Monday, the Bucharest school inspectorate proposed that all schools in the capital be closed until after Easter.

Big events banned, Italy-Romania flights suspended

Raed Arafat, Secretary State for Internal Affairs, head of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations announced on Sunday that events with more than 1,000 participants are banned till March 31 nationwide to curb the spread of the virus.

The restriction applies to all indoor and outdoor events; local authorities will decide about events with less than 1,000 participants, he explained. The measure will be in effect until March 31, but it might be extended depending on the spread of the coronavirus. The Romanian authorities also decided that schools where infected people attended will be closed. In-hospital trainings are also suspended, and authorities ordered a visitor ban as well.

Raed Arafat advised Romanian citizens living abroad not to come to Romania from foreign regions affected by the coronavirus. Photo: Inquam Photos/ Octav Ganea

Raed Arafat pointed out: Healthy people won’t be tested for coronavirus, and health institutions won’t provide any documentation for persons who are not infected. He added, Romanian citizens who have been quarantined in another country, as evidenced by a medical paper, do not need to undergo another quarantine if they come to Romania.

At the same time, the secretary of state advised Romanian citizens living abroad not to come to Romania from foreign regions affected by the coronavirus, as they would risk the lives of their elderly parents and grandparents upon their return.

Due to the restrictions, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania canceled all events planned on March 15, the anniversary of the Revolution’s outbreak in 1848.

All flights from Romania to Italy and from Italy to Romania will be suspended due to the spread of coronavirus, said Internal Affairs Minister Marcel Vela on Monday. The decision was made by the Strategic Communication Group.

The suspension of flights will start today, March 9, and will end on March 23. The minister added: Airlines must inform passengers arriving to Romania from Italy, China, Iran and South Korea about the quarantine rules in Romania, meaning they cannot land in the country. People coming from the abovementioned countries via land or water must go into quarantine or must isolate themselves in their homes.

Almost 13,000 people in isolation

As of Sunday, 15 people had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in Romania, five of whom have already recovered and have been released from the hospital.

Over the weekend, a 70-year-old woman from Maros (Mureș) County, a 42-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man from Bucharest were diagnosed with the virus. The first will be transferred to the epidemiological institute of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), while the other two are in the epidemiological institute in the capital. A 16 year-old girl from Temesvár (Timișoara) was reported as being fully recovered on Saturday, as two of her tests, taken within 24 hours, were negative. The girl was released from the hospital.

The infected people are being treated in health centers in Temesvár, Kolozsvár, Iaşi, Craiova and Bucharest. Romania has 11 people in institutional quarantine, under medical watch, while 12,877 people are isolated in their homes.

Title image: People coming to Romania from Italy, China, Iran and South Korea must go into quarantine – if arriving by plane, they can’t even land. Photo: Agerpres

Author: Orsi Sarány