The Romanian capital Bucharest had more new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday than the whole of Italy, the former epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus pandemic.
The government imposed lockdowns in two villages on Wednesday after authorities reported a record 1,030 cases. It is considering lockdowns in at least 12 other places, authorities said.
A new law which came into effect Tuesday gives the government the power to isolate sick people and quarantine places where there was a high risk of the infection spreading.
Authorities are also eyeing Pitesti, the capital of Arges county in southern Romania, a region which has seen a surge in recent weeks. The county reported 89 cases county-wide on Wednesday, more than Berlin where there 23. Authorities closed down some open air fairs in the county Wednesday.
County prefect Emanuel Soare said there were 12 places, both villages and towns, that may be placed under quarantine due to local outbreaks.
The first place the government placed under two-week quarantine with their new beefed-up powers was Roata de Jos, a village in the southern county of Giurgiu, with 3,000 residents and 32 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2.
Lockdown began Wednesday at 5 pm, with nobody allowed to enter or leave, except security, energy, welfare, food suppliers and police.
The only local residents can leave the village if those who work in agriculture, such as animal rearing and bee-keeping, and they can only leave for that activity and need to provide documentation demonstrating their activity, a statement from Giurgiu’s county council said.
Later, the Department for Emergency Situations said it would institute a two-week period of quanatine for the village of Gornet in Prahova county, north of Bucharest.
Cases are scattered throughout the village, where most residents are older than 65 making them more vulnerable to the virus, authorities said. The village has two family doctors, three police officers, five security guards and a number of pharmacies and food shops than can provide the basics.
The Public Health Department made the proposal after a surge in cases in the past two weeks. Fifteen Covid-19 infections were confirmed from July 8-20, and the rate of infection is higher than three to 1,000 cases, the threshold where the government can impose a lockdown.
The county prefect said the purpose of the quarantine was to help people who weren’t infected and manage the situation better. Roads will be kept open in and out of the village.
There was no word about locking down any part of Bucharest where 152 new cases were reported on Wednesday, less than in the whole of Italy which had 128.