Romania’s interim Prime Minister Florin Cîțu is considering making vaccine passes mandatory in shops and restaurants in a bid to avoid another lockdown.
Asked whether there would be a lockdown in the capital where the infection rate on Thursday shot to 15.42 to 1,000 residents, or in Ilfov county, north of the capital, he said that option was currently off the table.
“We had that discussion last year and it didn’t work,” he said Thursday.
The government is looking at ways to slow the spread of the virus. One option is making ‘green passes’ mandatory for all business activity which involves face-to-face interaction. That may prove complicated as less than one-third of the population is vaccinated.
Romania reported 16,338 new Covid cases on Thursday, the second-highest figure for a single day. Some 308 people died, and more than 1,700 are seriously ill in intensive care units.
Despite being in the grip of a deadly fourth wave, the government is keen not to shut down the economy, especially when there is high inflation and energy price hikes.
“If the economy is kept open, it would help a lot,” the outgoing premier said. He said mandatory ‘green passes’ for shops and restaurants would be less disruptive than imposing curfews on shops and other restrictions.
Romania had a two-month lockdown at the start of the pandemic, before gradually lifting restrictions.
However, the government can’t introduce any new measures without Parliament’s approval. It is currently acting in a caretaker role after it was dismissed in a confidence vote last week.