Politics

Romania declares state of emergency

As cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, are on the rise in Romania, President Klaus Iohannis today signed the decree to declare a state of emergency, effective immediately, on Romania’s territory for 30 days, as there are now 158 reported cases of coronavirus infections in the country, with 71 cases identified in Transylvania alone.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Romania has reached 158. In Transylvania, there are 71 positive cases, 1,198 people in quarantine, and 5,379 in home quarantine. Image source: korona.rmdsz.ro

According to President Iohannis, a state of emergency will be in place for the next 30 days in Romania in order to limit the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. During this period:

  • Schools will remain closed, and universities will suspend courses.
  • Prices for certain services (medical supplies, energy, fuel, food) can be capped at the average price of the past three months.
  • For people staying home, support measures will be established.
  • Legal provisions for granting parents days off do not apply to employees in the defense and medical sectors.
  • In the healthcare sector, it is possible to hire personnel without the usual screening process.
  • It is possible to acquire necessary medical equipment and medicines through direct acquisition.

As the coronavirus pandemic will have serious economic consequences, Iohannis said the government will soon announce a package of measures, and the entire economy must be ready to support the countering of the pandemic. The continuity of public utility services will also be ensured. As for the judiciary, it will only handle top-priority cases. The Supreme Court has the power to decide on priority cases, while the Council of Superior Magistracy (CSM) will give the necessary guidelines.

“It’s extremely important to take appropriate measures in time and to make this fight possible with all the tools available by law, so I have decided to declare a sate of emergency to start at the beginning of this week,” president Iohannis told Romanian media on Saturday.

The establishment of the state of emergency will allow authorities to take the most appropriate measures for the management and prevention of COVID-19. “It is a measure that helps the authorities be able to act for the benefit of citizens,” Interior Minister Marcel Vela said at the ministry’s headquarters on Sunday.

“The state of emergency allows the government to allocate more funds to the healthcare sector for medicine and the acquisition of medical supplies. Also, this situation speeds up the procurement process via simplified processes so that the government has all the necessary tools to efficiently manage the crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic,” the president said.

The announcement was made in tandem with a vote by political parties vesting power in the new Liberal government led by Ludovic Orban.

“[We plan measures for] strengthening public health directorates, strengthening all structures within the Ministry of Interior and strengthening the capacity of hospitals to receive patients and provide the health services that are absolutely needed. And there is the possibility of capping prices on certain absolutely necessary products, such as masks, gloves, protection equipment, disinfectants, biocides and other product categories,” said prime minister Ludovic Orban, as cited by Agerpres.

On Monday morning, Education Minister Monica Anisie informed Romanian media that schools will remain closed during the period of the state of emergency, which for now means until after Easter (April 20, 2020), as the Orthodox Easter Sunday falls on April 19; the Catholic Easter Sunday this year falls on April 13. Authorities had initially announced that schools would remain closed until March 22.

Title image: President Klaus Iohannis. Image source: Facebook.

Author: István Fekete