Romania’s president sought to dispel rumors that authorities would enforce a national lockdown immediately after parliamentary elections on Dec. 6 and claimed that local restrictions in high-risk areas were beginning to pay off.
For weeks, there has been widespread speculation on social media and in the media that authorities are waiting for elections to be over in order to impose strict restrictions nationwide to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
But President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday denied authorities were planning such a move.
“We won’t have another lockdown,” he said referring to a two-month state of emergency at the beginning of the pandemic.
The president said that recent restrictions in places where there were Covid-19 outbreaks had begun to pay dividends.
“We have reached a plateau and there is a tendency for cases to drop,” he said at a news conference at the Cotroceni presidential palace.
“The strategy…. Is to continue to enforce local and regional quarantine measures where there is a spike in cases.”
Romania added 9,739 new cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day rate since Nov. 19. Bucharest reported almost 1,500 cases and the Black Sea Constanta region had about 750 cases a single-day jump of 5.26%. Constanta entered quarantine on Friday evening.
Mr. Iohannis said the National Institute of Public Health had confirmed that cases began to drop starting Nov. 20, two weeks after restrictions were introduced in high-risk areas.
There were fewer cases reported Wednesday in some counties in Transylvania which imposed restrictions following a spike in previous weeks.
The president cautioned: “This is just a start. We haven’t defeated the virus,” and “any premature relaxation jeopardizes” our successes.
He said local restrictions which limited people’s movements “inhibited the spread of the virus,” touting the Transylvanian counties of Cluj, Salaj, Sibiu and Maramures as success stories, places where restrictions had resulted in a drop in case numbers.
“I want to be very clear, there is no intention, I don’t intend to impose a national lockdown at a national level after parliamentary elections on Dec. 6” blaming “unscrupulous politicians trying to promote sensational news.”