Life won’t go back to normal after the state of emergency ends on May 15, or rather there will be a new normal, Romania’s president said in his first press conference since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.
“We still won’t be able to meet in groups larger than three, we won’t be able to go to the mall of a restaurant,” Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday evening at a press conference at the Cotroceni palace.
Like other European countries, Romania’s government imposed a lockdown in March to contain the spread of the virus. A state of emergency was imposed in mid-March which has been extended until May 15.
Although people will no longer have to fill out forms explaining why they are leaving home, Iohannis said people “won’t be able to leave the town where they live without a justified reason.”
He said big events such as concerts and festivals would “probably” no longer take place this year and it was „premature” to say whether there would be elections in the fall, „it depends how we manage this crisis”
„In my opinion it is important (to have them) when there is no danger to population.”
„The danger hasn’t passed, and we need to be extremely careful,” he said. “The fact that some measures will be relaxed after May 15 doesn’t mean we’ll return to the life we had.”
Romania on Wednesday reported a 11,616 infections and 650 deaths since the virus outbreak began.
“Experts tell us we don’t even know when we will return to a normal life,” he said.
Starting May 15, it will be compulsory for Romanians to wear masks in public. Iohannis said authorities will provide masks for people who can’t afford them.
Without specifically mentioning China, Iohannis said Europe had been reliant on medical equipment and ventilators markets that were “a long way from us, not only very far geographically…. But very far from us from the perception of a democratic system.”
“My opinion is there will be a rethinking and a realignment of economic networks and production chains…. We have to be careful that we have production facilities in the European Union when we are talking about strategic production.”
He said that Romania and Europe needed to rethink where goods are manufactured and relocate “entire sectors” closer to home.
He said that pupils taking final exams in the 8th and 12th grades would have the “option” of attending school in the first two weeks June, but it wouldn’t be compulsory.
He defended the government’s decision to keep kindergartens, schools and universities closed for the rest of the school year.
“We can’t do (social) distancing due to (the lack of) space,” he said. “Pupils go home and take the illness with them, which is why we aren’t re-opening schools.”