The government is extending the state of alert by 30 days from March 14, while the night curfew will start at 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. and last until 5 a.m., Romanian Prime Minister Florin Cîţu announced on Wednesday. As he noted at a press conference held at the Victoria Palace, apart from changing the starting time of the night curfew, there are no other significant changes in the precautionary measures. All current restrictions remain in place, Cîţu added.
As of Sunday, March 14, hotels and guesthouses in 23 mountain resorts are allowed to accommodate guests using at most 70 percent of their capacity. Some of these resorts are located in Szeklerland, namely in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tuşnad/Bad Tuschnad), Borszék (Băile Borsec/Bad Borseck), Homoródfürdő (Băile Homorod), Szováta (Sovata), Hargitafürdő (Harghita-Băi); in the northwestern Partium region’s Biharfüred; and also in Braşov and Prahova counties, where the cities of Braşov, Predeal, Sinaia and Buşteni have the most popular ski resorts, the maszol,ro news portal wrote.
According to the Wednesday decision of the National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU), all existing restrictions will remain in place across Romania: Protective face masks must be worn everywhere in public places, both indoors and outdoors; private celebrations and social gatherings are still forbidden; no more than six people can gather on the streets; and shops must close at 9 p.m at the latest.
Prime Minister Florin Cîțu said on Wednesday that the CNSU had discussed the possibility of introducing several other measures, including the closure of malls, but in the end, these proposals were rejected. The PM added that the most important tool in fighting the coronavirus epidemic is the vaccination campaign, which he noted has been very successful.
On Tuesday, President Klaus Iohannis said that authorities do not intend to introduce a full closure at Easter (which will be celebrated by Catholics on April 4 and by the Orthodox on May 2). Nevertheless, Iohannis was concerned about the continuous increase of new daily infections and the growing number of patients being treated in intensive care. The president called on all citizens to respect the epidemiological measures in order to pull through and beat the virus now that we are at the finish line.
The night curfew was extended by one hour, as the rate of coronavirus infections is steadily increasing: It has risen by 1.5 times in the last three weeks. Moreover, as of Tuesday, the number of hospitalized patients went over 10,000. Also, more than 1,100 people are fighting for their lives in ICU; the last time there were so many patients in serious condition in COVID hospitals was in December 2020.
Specialists say that the resurgence of the pandemic in recent weeks is being caused by the spread of the new, more contagious mutations of the coronavirus. Experts are unanimously convinced that the British variant of the virus is definitely spreading at a community level, and it has already become the dominant form of infection in Romania’s major cities. The South African virus appeared in Romania last week, while the Brazilian variant was first detected on Monday.
Title image: Police patrols are checking people’s documents during the night curfew