As COVID-19 lockdown ends, Klaus Iohannis warns Romanians not to let their guard down.‘Nobody knows when this pandemic will end’

As a strict two-month lockdown went into its final hours, President Klaus Iohannis warned Romanians Thursday they must continue to be vigilant about the coronavirus threat. He said if COVID-19 cases rise sharply, he won’t hesitate to declare a fresh state of emergency.

The president declared the lockdown in mid-March  to contain the spread of the virus. Under military ordinances, people’s movements were restricted to all but essential activity, and there were disruptions to every aspect of daily life in the nation of 19 million.

From closed malls and restaurants, to no church services at Easter, to hundreds of thousands of job losses, people’s saw their lives drastically altered.

But Iohannis said the restrictions had worked and thanked Romanians for their cooperation. „Together, we saved lives,” he said.

Coronavirus cases rose to 16,247 on Thursday and authorities said 1,046 people had succumbed to the virus since the outbreak. And it would have been worse without the lockdown, Iohannis said.

Romania will ease rules Friday as part of its exit strategy and a gradual return to normal life.

But Iohannis warned that “the state of alert brings new risks and extra responsibilities for all of us who will resume our everyday life in one way or another.”

“Social distancing, home work where possible and and respecting hygiene rules , wearing protection masks are essential to continue to control this epidemic.”

“Without these measures and rules, without responsibility from each one of us, things can easily degenerate.”

Schools and some malls remain closed, and it will be mandatory for people to ‘social distance’ and wear masks in indoor public spaces, measures designed to stop further outbreaks.

“I want to be very clear. If the situation gets worse and figures show a big increase in infections, which will overcrowd hospitals, I will not hesitate to declare a state of emergency again,,” he said.

“Let’s not compromise all the sacrifices we have made so far,” he said.

“The end of the state of emergency doesn’t mean the end of the epidemic.Today the National Committee for Urgent Situations has declared a state of alert and will undertake all (necessary) measures,” he said.

“Tomorrow, we start a new stage, but unfortunately the end of the state of emergency doesn’t mean the end of the epidemic.”

“There are some positive signs, but we have to be aware that the danger this virus represents is far from being over.”


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