Romanian officials alarmed about ‘third wave’ of Covid-19 cases as one city goes into lockdown

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Romanian health officials are concern about the third wave of Covid-19 cases which comes as a new, more infectious strain of the virus is spreading faster.

Beatrice Mahler, manager of the ”Marius Nasta” Institute, a lung hospital, on Monday said there were on Sunday there were no more beds available in the hospital’s intensive care unit, Digi 24 reported.

She said there had been a rise in admissions, including younger patients who had severe forms of the virus. Some had inflamed livers, which complicated treatment, she said.

She said ‘a third wave’ of Covid-19 had started and the situation could get worse than at the peak in November 2020 amid general public fatigue over restrictions such as mandatory face masks.

„In the last four days, the Covid section has been almost full all the time. The number of patients who have symptoms and are coming to be tested has gone up, ” she said.

„This development is not reassuring, on the contrary. I am worried about it,” she told the station.

In Bucharest, authorities imposed a new layer of restrictions on Monday after the rate rose to over 3 to 1,000. Schools are partially closed, and restaurants and bars can no longer serve customers inside. Theaters and cinemas have also been told to shut after they reopened several weeks ago.

Last week, Romania was posting around or above 4,000 cases a day. On Monday, 2,280 new cases were reported, but Mondays figures are always lower than the rest of the week due to a decrease in testing on Sunday.

The western city of Timisoara which has more than 7 cases per 1,000 has the highest rate of infections in Romania. The city hall voted to approve a new lockdown which began Monday.

Residents need to fill out a form when they leave home and malls will close over the weekend.

Raed Arafat, who head the Department for Emergency Situations, also said the new strain of the virus meant it was spreading faster than before.

The national average infection rate „is around 3 per thousand, 2.90 to 3 per 1,000,” he said on Friday.

That is just below the ‘red scenario’ rate of 3 to 1,000, a level which triggers extra restrictions.

Dr. Arafat said local authorities are monitoring the situation across the county, and local lockdowns or restrictions will be imposed when cases climb beyond a certain level,

“Otherwise, we could have more drastic measures at the national level,” he said reassuring people that a nationwide lockdown is not currently being considered.

„If the growth continues  where local …. measures are needed, they will be taken. If we do not take them, we will end up taking more drastic national measures.”

“At this moment, we are not discussing a total lockdown. We are trying our best not to get there,” he said.

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