Romanian PM to meet key ministers as Covid-19 cases rise in capital raising possibility of school closures, more restrictions

Inquam Photos / Sabin Cirstoveanu

Romanian public health authorities say SARS-CoV-2 cases have risen in Bucharest in the last week to a level where the government may close schools and impose more restrictions.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban was scheduled to meet the head of the Emergency Department, Raed Arafat, Interior Minister Marcel Vela and Health Minister Nelu Tataru later Tuesday, likely to discuss what measures to take amid the rise in cases.

Bucharest posted 499 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday and has posted 3,657 cases this week.

The prime minister said this weekend that schools will be closed in areas where there are more than 3 cases per 1,000 people and authorities are mulling whether to make masks mandatory in all outdoor places in cases where infections are high.

The Public Health Institute said Bucharest was officially in the “red zone” after infections increased to 3.11 per 1,000 inhabitants for the past fortnight. But the Strategic Communication Group said there were 2.69 cases per 1,000 residents, up from 2.66 on Monday. The discrepancy could not be immediately explained.

The Strategic Communication Group posted 3,109 new cases in Romania on Tuesday, one of the highest single-day cases ever. Eight counties apart from Bucharest had more than 100 new cases.

Some 68 patients with Covid-19 died in the past day and there are 651 patients currently being treated in intensive care units.

Authorities said there were more than 1.5 cases per 1,000 people in 15 Romanian counties including the capital.

„If cases rise past 3 to 1,000 in the past fortnight the first measure will be closing schools and lessons will be held online, ” Mr. Orban said.

„We need to do a serious review, to crack down on outbreaks, cases which aren’t community transmission,” the premier said. „We may have localized lockdowns  but I hope not to get to this point and people to understand the situation and to take care and guard themselves  from infection,” he said.

He said the health and education ministries had set the 3 to 1,000 figure as the moment when physical schools are closed.

President Klaus Iohannis is due to speak about the situation later Tuesday.


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