Romania’s health minister says 2.3 million people in Romania will receive free masks for two months after it became compulsory to wear face coverings in public places to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Nelu Tartaru said the government had passed an emergency law late Thursday that qualifies people on low incomes, some retirees and people with disabilities to receive 50 masks each for a period of two months.
“After the state of alert came into effect, we adopted this measure,” Tataru said. The Public Health Department will distribute the masks to local authorities who will then hand them out to people who are eligible for the handout, he said.
The government is investing 230 million lei in the scheme.
People on social welfare, or those who receive welfare to support their families are eligible for the free masks, as are retirees whose monthly pensions are less than 704 lei. People with disabilities also qualify for the scheme.
It is a week since it became compulsory to wear face masks in enclosed public spaces, such as offices, shops and on public transport.
The handout “must happen very quickly,” Tataru said. “After the ordinance comes into effect in three days, local authorities need to send list of the people who are eligible and and once the masks are purchased, the health department has to send these masks to local authorities.”
Also Thursday, the government said some 38,000 social workers would receive 1,150 lei a month to look after vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.