Romanian health minister resigns, coronavirus cases exceed 1,000

Romanian Health Minister Victor Costache announced his resignation Thursday morning, just as the number of coronavirus cases in Romania went past the 1,000 mark. The two events are, however, not related: Costache’s resignation was probably triggered by his unfounded announcement on Wednesday that all citizens in the capital of Bucharest will be tested for coronavirus.

Unnamed government sources told news channel digi24.ro that Prime Minister Ludovic Orban had had a “heated discussion” with Costache on Thursday night regarding the lack of hospital equipment and organizational chaos, but, most of all, Costache’s announcement that all Bucharest residents had to be tested for coronavirus. The announcement was all the more unrealistic because Romania can currently only produce coronavirus test kits at a pace of 1,000 per day.

Meanwhile, the number of Romanian medical personnel who have been infected with the coronavirus has reached 150, triggering yet another small crisis within the larger one. Most of the cases (90) are in the northeastern city of Suceava, where the local designated coronavirus hospital is now closed.

Prime Minister Orban accepted Costache’s resignation and nominated his deputy, Nelu Tătaru, who was recalled from Suceava, where he had been dealing with the crisis there. Not to cause any delay in the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, President Klaus Iohannis has already signed Tătaru’s appointment.

At the time of publishing, Romania has a total 1,029 confirmed coronavirus cases, 94 people have been cured and the pandemic has so far claimed 18 lives.

Title image: A Romanian serviceman stands in a vehicle as the country’s army was called to assist the police in enforcing a full-day lockdown, with people allowed out of their houses only for a very limited number of purposes, in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)





Author: Dénes Albert