President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday urged opposition lawmakers to stop dragging their feet on a law to quarantine and hospitalize Covid-19 patients, saying the lives of hundreds of Romanians were at stake.
Parliament began to debate a draft law on quarantine and isolation in response to the coronavirus pandemic on July 9, three days after the minority Liberal government sent the bill to the legislature, but lawmakers have not voted on it yet. The Liberals don’t have enough votes to push the bill through the legislature.
In the meantime, Romania has seen a spike in coronavirus cases with a record 698 cases reported on Saturday, and 637 infections confirmed Tuesday.
Quarantine and isolation measures were suspended after a ruling by the Constitutional Court on June 26 that they were unconstitutional.
Covid-19 patients with no symptoms can no longer be retained in hospitals, as an effect of the ruling. As a result, most patients have voluntarily discharged themselves.
In an address made at the Cotroceni presidential palace, Iohannis warned that delaying the legislation could result in „tens, possibly hundreds of Romanians” losing their lives as the government is „deprived of an essential mechanism in managing the epidemic.”
„I’ll tell you straight, it’s extremely sad, it’s shocking, because this feet-dragging, by which the Social Democrats want to appear important or interesting, could cost the lives of dozens, God forbid, maybe even hundreds of Romanians.”
“I renew my call to the Parliament: finalize the debate! Pass a good version of this law! Otherwise, you will be morally responsible for the death of dozens, maybe hundreds of Romanians. This behavior, this delaying tactic, is intolerable,” the president said.
Senate speaker Robert Cazanciuc said it was “inadmissible that the president is blaming Parliament for the government’s stupidity.”
“It’s unacceptable that Iohannis is blaming Parliament for positive cases in the last day,” he told reporters.
On Monday, leader of the opposition Social Democrats Marcel Ciolacu said the bill would not be voted „until the prime minister and the health minister come and clarify all of its aspects.”
He said a version of the bill sent to the Chamber of Deputies „a bad law,” and said the justice ministry needed to approve the bill.
The Senate’s Legal Commission debated the bill on Tuesday. Health Minister Nelu Tataru and the head of the Emergency Situations Department Raed Arafat took part in the discussions.