Romanian gov’t extends state of alert as coronavirus continues march

– The Romanian government announced on Monday the extension of the state of alert by another 30 days starting Tuesday, as the COVID-19 situation remains severe.

This is the fourth extension of the state of alert, which was first announced in mid-May following a two-month higher-level state of emergency.

The government has also decided to implement several measures in connection with the local elections scheduled for Sept. 27. Election rallies and demonstrations can take place with a maximum 100 people and in full compliance with hygiene rules. Voters will be obliged to disinfect their hands before entering and leaving the polling stations.

Raed Arafat, secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, said that while some of the restrictive measures have remained unchanged, mentioning, however, that “contact sports have been removed from sports that are limited.” He also said that seminars or workshops could be organized under the same conditions as theaters and shows.

Meanwhile, some 2,800,000 pre-university students and preschoolers began classes in the new school year on Monday under special circumstances given the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools that operate under the so-called “green scenario” will offer in-class learning, while those under the “yellow” or “red scenarios” will alternate in-class and online learning.

According to Education Minister Monica Anisie, 12,423 schools will operate under the “green scenario,” 4,915 under the “yellow scenario” and 263 under the “red scenario.”

Romania’s daily number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has been steady at around 1,200 in September. To date, the country, which reported its first case of coronavirus on Feb. 27, has registered a total of 104,187 cases and 4,185 deaths, while 43,244 people have recovered.

Currently, 7,134 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 456 of them are in intensive care.