sunny.png
Friday June 24th, 2022 7:10PM

Romania tightens pandemic measures amid COVID-19 surge

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Tighter pandemic measures came into force in Romania on Saturday as authorities hoped to quell sharply rising coronavirus cases amid concerns that the next virus wave could overstretch the country’s health care system.

In mid-December, Romania was reporting fewer than a thousand COVID-19 infections a day, but over the past week, daily cases have surged to around 6,000. It is the highest number of infections since early November when cases were on the decline following a vicious fourth virus wave.

Over the winter holiday period, hundreds of thousands of Romanians return home from other countries, many from the West, which fueled concerns over the threat of the fast-spreading omicron variant. Romania has so far confirmed almost 300 cases of the new variant.

Health minister Alexandru Rafila said in a press briefing Friday that Romania is “already in the fifth wave of the pandemic” and that omicron is expected to soon become the dominant virus strain.

“For the time being, there is a sporadic transmission (of omicron),” he said. “But it is very possible that in the coming days, the coming weeks, we will witness a community transmission supported by this new strain.”

The new measures Saturday include the mandatory wearing of face masks in outdoor and indoor public spaces, and textile masks have been banned. Non-compliance with mask rules could result in hefty fines of up to 500 euros ($567), authorities said.

Bars and restaurants can stay open until 10 p.m. and operate at 50% or 30% capacity depending on the area’s infection rate, and COVID-19 passes are required. The same goes for sporting events, gyms, and cinemas. Meanwhile, quarantine and isolation periods have been reduced.

Octavian Jurma, a physician and health care statistician, said the new pandemic measures are “mostly cosmetic” and compared them to “giving aspirin to a cancer patient.”

“These measures were never meant to limit the pandemic, but to create an illusion they are doing something more than in the delta wave,” Jurma told The Associated Press. “We have a perfect storm lined up in Romania ... we will again see record numbers of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths.”

Through October and November, Romania recorded pandemic highs of COVID-19 infections and deaths, and at one time had the highest mortality rate globally. The situation crippled the country’s aging health care system.

Romania, a European Union country of around 19.5 million, is the bloc's second-lowest vaccinated nation against COVID-19, with just 40% fully vaccinated. Experts blame widespread disinformation, a strong distrust of government authorities and an ineffective national campaign among reasons for vaccine hesitancy.

“I am not sure the pandemic is manageable in Romania anymore since the negationists have clearly won the ‘hearts and minds’ war,” Jurma said.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Former anti-terror chief arrested over Kazakhstan protests
The former head of Kazakhstan's counterintelligence and anti-terror agency has been arrested on charges of attempted government overthrow in the wake of violent protests that the president has blamed on foreign-backed terrorists
3:55AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Reports: Lawyers say Djokovic had COVID-19 last month
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. is reporting lawyers for Novak Djokovic have lodged court documents in his challenge against deportation from Australia that showed the tennis star contracted COVID-19 last month
3:36AM ( 1 hour ago )
Djokovic could face future bans if deported from Australia
Novak Djokovic risks missing more than one Australian Open if he fails to have his visa cancellation overturned and gets deported for not having enough evidence to support a medical exemption to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rules when he arrived for the first tennis major of 2022
2:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Colombian man felt tranquil before euthanasia ended his pain
For the first time in years, Víctor Escobar stopped taking most of the medicines needed for his lung disease
9:49PM ( 6 hours ago )
Supreme Court skeptical of Biden's workplace vaccine rule
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appears skeptical of the Biden administration’s authority to impose a vaccine-or-testing requirement on the nation’s large employers
6:47PM ( 9 hours ago )
Data shortfall impairs Brazil's tracking of spreading virus
Brazil is already one of the countries most devastated by COVID-19 and it's struggling to keep track of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations
5:33PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Health
Anger as Cambodia's Hun Sen meets Myanmar military leader
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar to revive peace efforts after last year’s military takeover is provoking an angry backlash among critics, who say he is legitimizing the army’s seizure of power
9:55PM ( 6 hours ago )
Coast Guard announces safety rules after deadly boat fire
The Coast Guard has announced new safety rules following a deadly blaze that killed 34 people on a scuba diving boat off the California coast more than two years ago
8:54PM ( 7 hours ago )
Chicago mayor: Hopeful for deal in COVID teachers dispute
Classes in Chicago were canceled for a third consecutive day amid an ongoing fight with the teachers union over remote learning and other COVID-19 safety protocols
8:02PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business
Stocks wobble following mixed jobs data as tech sinks again
Stocks turned mixed Friday as Treasury yields rise, with much of Wall Street seeing the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates as soon as March despite a mixed report on the U.S. jobs market
2:05PM ( 14 hours ago )
Supreme Court weighs vaccine rules affecting more than 80M
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on two major Biden administration work rules to bump up the nation’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 at a time of spiking cases because of the omicron variant
11:38AM ( 17 hours ago )
Stocks slip following mixed jobs data as tech sinks again
Stocks are slipping Friday as Treasury yields rise, with much of Wall Street seeing the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates as soon as March despite a mixed report on the U.S. jobs market
11:20AM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Scholz's party wants vaccine mandate decision this quarter
Germany’s biggest governing party says it aims for a final decision by the end of March on the introduction of a universal vaccine mandate against COVID-19
7:34AM ( 1 day ago )
Xi'an hospital punished for refusing entry to pregnant woman
Hospital officials in the northern Chinese city of Xi'an have been punished after a pregnant woman miscarried after being refused entry, reportedly for not having current COVID-19 test results
6:26AM ( 1 day ago )
Spike in California virus cases hitting hospitals, schools
California is struggling to staff hospitals and classrooms as a spike in coronavirus infections hits the state
12:41AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Former anti-terror chief arrested over Kazakhstan protests
The former head of Kazakhstan's counterintelligence and anti-terror agency has been arrested on charges of attempted government overthrow in the wake of violent protests that the president has blamed on foreign-backed terrorists
3:55AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Reports: Lawyers say Djokovic had COVID-19 last month
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. is reporting lawyers for Novak Djokovic have lodged court documents in his challenge against deportation from Australia that showed the tennis star contracted COVID-19 last month
3:36AM ( 1 hour ago )
Djokovic could face future bans if deported from Australia
Novak Djokovic risks missing more than one Australian Open if he fails to have his visa cancellation overturned and gets deported for not having enough evidence to support a medical exemption to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rules when he arrived for the first tennis major of 2022
2:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
LeBron leads Lakers past Hawks 134-118 for 4th straight win
The Los Angeles Lakers held off the Atlanta Hawks 134-118 for their first four-game winning streak of the season
1:40AM ( 2 hours ago )
Harry Reid memorial in Vegas drawing nation's top Democrats
The late U.S. Sen. Harry Reid will be remembered in Las Vegas this weekend by family, friends and the nation’s top Democrats as a fighter, a father and a powerful U.S. and Nevada political figure
12:27AM ( 4 hours ago )