UPDATE. ‘You didn’t crack in 1989.’ Romanian health minister appeals to health workers to rally round, as cases cross 3,000

Foto: INQUAM/Virgil Simionescu

Romania’s health minister on Friday appealed to medics to get behind the fight against coronavirus as the number of cases rose to 3,183, with the biggest spike so far in a day.

Nelu Tataru said there 445 new cases were registered in last 24 hours. A total of 133 people have died from COVID-19 by Friday evening.

“I have a message for my colleagues,” said Tataru, who was manager of two hospitals before becoming minister. “Dear colleagues, brothers, Romania needs you. It’s a difficult moment when we have to show that we can honor the profession. Romanian healthcare has never cracked, not even in (during the) 1989 (revolution). „Medical staff have always rallied round.”

However, he said the healthcare system was „facing an unprecedented situation,” due to years of problems.

“We are working round the clock,” he said, adding: “We don’t know how long the crisis will last.”

He said Romania had sufficient COVID-19 tests, but there was a shortage of healthcare staff.

Some health workers have resigned or retired early, and hundreds have also been infected due to insufficient protective equipment and also due to mismanagement and negligence during the crisis.

Health workers represent some 16% of total infections, Tataru said.

He said authorities needed to hire 2,000 ambulance and public healthcare workers to cope with the crisis.

Tataru said the county of Suceava in northern Romania, and the western cities of Deva and Arad  were the worst affected and he would travel to each region to help fix problems there.

Some 281 people have recovered, he said.


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