Romania tightens control measures amid surge in COVID-19 cases
Romania announced late Thursday that a series of stricter prevention and control measures, including early closure of businesses and restriction of traffic, will be adopted in cities and regions with severe coronavirus situation.
According to the decision of the National Committee for Emergency Situations, movement will be allowed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 20:00, two hours ahead of the current limit, and the activity of the economic operators will take place at most until 18:00, three hours in advance, in the localities where the incidence of COVID-19 infection exceeds 4 per thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days.
The measure will be stopped when the cumulative incidence rate in the last 14 days falls below 3.5 per thousand, explained Raed Arafat, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Interior who heads the National Committee for Emergency Situations.
Meanwhile, for local areas where the incidence of COVID-19 infection exceeds 7.5 per thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, the above-mentioned restrictions on traffic and businesses will be implemented throughout the week, and will stop applying when the incidence falls below 7 per thousand.
With a new wave of the pandemic brought about by the virus variants, the health situation in the eastern European country has become severe. At present, the Ilfov County surrounding the capital city Bucharest has the highest infection rate in the country, 7.91 per thousand, followed by Bucharest with 6.5 per thousand. Another four counties -- Brasov, Cluj, Hunedoara and Timis -- have an infection rate between 4.38 and 6.14 per thousand.
In the last 24 hours, 6,651 new cases were registered in Romania, bringing the caseload to 919,794, according to the latest official data. Meanwhile, with 140 more fatalities associated with the virus, the death toll now stood at 22,719.
The authorities hoped to alleviate the pandemic by stepping up its vaccination campaign that started on Dec. 27, 2020.
So far, 2,744,764 vaccine doses have been administered to 1,861,646 people, among whom 978,528 people have received the first dose and 883,118 both.
Currently, three vaccines -- Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca -- have been approved for use in Romania.
Globally, 267 candidate vaccines are still being developed -- 83 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 23.