Romanian capital enters red alert, new restrictions begin at midnight as Covid-19 cases soar

Bars, restaurants and theaters in the Romanian capital will close at midnight and masks will be compulsory in all public places for at least a fortnight after a spike in coronavirus cases, the government said.

The Bucharest Council for Emergency Situations met Monday to formally decide on new restrictions in Bucharest after the infection rate rose to 3.19 cases per 1,000 inhabitants in the capital of about 2.3 million.

Under the new rules, which came into effect after it entered the red alert of more than 3 Covid-19 cases per 1,000 residents, betting shops, cinemas and gambling parlors also have to shut for two weeks as authorities try to limit the spread of the virus.

Restaurants with outdoor dining did not appear to be included in the ban. Although the weather is colder, customers are still eating outside.

Schools and universities will also switch to an online learning system starting Tuesday due to the surge in cases. On Monday, Bucharest, the worst affected area in the country posted 581 cases, while on Sunday there were 770 new infections.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban warned people on Sunday that restaurants, theaters and other public places were set to close.

He said the new restrictions were aimed at reducing “as much as possible interaction between people.”

Bucharest surpassed the critical infection figure of 3 cases per 1,000 inhabitants on Sunday, which triggered the restrictions.

“Our aim at this time it to stop the rise in cases. These are the strictest measures in the current state of alert. The aim of the measures is to reduce as much as possible people’s interactions.”

He urged people to wear a mask in public places saying he had met “thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people,” and I haven’t caught the virus, he said.

The prime minister has entered self-isolation twice after coming into contact with people who tested positive


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