Romania tightens Covid-19 restrictions as soaring numbers stretch hospitals

Foto: Inquam Photos / Sabin Cirstoveanu

New Covid-19 restrictions came into effect on Monday in Romania as the government attempts to slow a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

A new night curfew has been imposed and health passes are mandatory for most public venues except essential shops,

Schools are on a two-week vacation and masks are compulsory in public cases regardless of case numbers.

Daily cases topped 15,000 last week and deaths were in their hundreds. On Sunday there were 381 fatalities . The situation had become so desperate that in the capital, the Romanian Orthodox Church offered hospital chapels up as morgues.

Romania has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with only 35 percent of fully inoculated against the virus. The EU average is 74 percent.

Starting Monday, people need to show green passes or prove they have had the virus to enter malls, the head of the emergency services  Raed Arafat said.

The unvaccinated can use essential food shops and chemists outside malls. Most Romanian towns have malls and they are a popular place for shopping.

Children under 12 who aren’t required to be inoculated will be allowed into ‘green pass’ areas only if they are accompanies by vaccinated adults.

The green pass or proof of having had the virus is also required for entry to all public buildings. There will also be limits on people going into private buildings.

Churches are exempt from the restrictions. The decision to not place restrictions on churches comes after the church spokesman came out last week in favor of vaccines and appealed to people to ignore ‘absurd conspiracy theories.’

The new night curfew runs from 10pm to 5am with some exceptions. Restaurants and clubs will have to shut at 9pm, and concerts, sporting events have been canceled.

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