Romanian Parliament modifies state of alert bill

The Romanian Parliament has approved a government decree declaring modifications to the state of alert currently in effect in the country. A joint session of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate was called at the written request of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to review the bill, which replaces the state of emergency and imposes new measures. The government needed Parliament’s approval, otherwise the state of alert would have ended immediately.

The final document voted on this Wednesday differs from the original form of the bill adopted by the government on Monday and published in the Official Monitor of Romania, as the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (also known as RMDSZ), the Save Romania Union (USR) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) had proposed several amendments to ease the imposed measures that have taken effect during this period.

An important amendment was that the government must provide masks for disadvantaged families and people. At the PSD’s suggestion, the bill also now includes an amendment under which local authorities have the power to suspend or designate people in the management of healthcare units belonging to them.

According to the law, the state of alert cannot be longer than 30 days, but it is possible to extend it by a further 30 days if necessary. According to the government’s decree, on May 18, Romania entered into a state of alert, two months after the state of emergency was declared to tackle the situation generated by the novel coronavirus. The state of alert means many measures will remain in place, such as schools remaining closed until the end of the school year, bars and restaurants not reopening, and travel out of cities (or metropolitan) areas being restricted.

Title image: Screenshot of the joint-session stream.

Author: István Fekete