European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Current restrictions in Romania not enough to stop the pandemic

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The number of new cases of coronavorus and deaths will continue to increase in Romania at least until Christmas if the current restrictions remain in force, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which provided updated projections of COVID-19 for each EU/EEA state and the UK, up until 25 December 2020.

The ECDPC also shows that, if the tough restrictions similar to the ones enforced in the spring are re-introduced the curve of infections and deaths will go on a downward path. However, the Centre mentions that every country has its particularities, and there are EU countries that consider that current restrictions are enough to have a decrease in the number of new infections and deaths.

According to the update report, following widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) countries and the United Kingdom (UK) over several weeks, the COVID-19 epidemic reached a peak in most of these countries in April or early May 2020. Following the implementation of non-pharmaceutical measures aimed at reducing contact rates between people, the number of confirmed cases and associated morbidity and mortality diminished sharply. In most countries, the intensity of these measures was subsequently lightened. By late October 2020, a resurgence of cases was observed in EU/EEA countries and the UK. As this was accompanied by increased hospital and ICU admissions and deaths the increase is considered to be a consequence of increased transmission, not solely increased testing rates. As a result, many countries have taken steps to re-introduce more stringent control measures to once again reduce the contact rate between people.

Mathematical modelling of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and associated COVID-19 disease is used to assess the potential progression of the epidemic within a population and to inform decision-making on potential interventions to ensure public health. The methodology inherently facilitates the quantification of uncertainty associated with these estimations and projections. In May 2020, ECDC produced a set of short-term forecasts of the expected number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalised cases (subdivided into general hospital wards and intensive care units). Updated forecasts were published in September 2020.

In this report we present slightly longer-term projections for each country, up until 25 December 2020. We continue to model a baseline ‘status quo’ scenario, assuming all control measures in place in early November 2020 will be continued until the end of the projection period. However, we also include an alternative scenario which illustrates the potential impact on the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths if the population returned to the behaviour they practised on 1 April 2020. We also illustrate the potential impact on hospitalisation rates if recently-implemented response measures are lifted before Christmas. The model is based on the epidemiological data and scientific evidence available at the time of publication. Further developments are anticipated as new information and
epidemiological data become available.

The model was developed at ECDC and applied at a national level for EU/EEA countries and the UK. Mathematical models provide a helpful approach for quantifying uncertainty but their output should be interpreted and appraised in light of both the underlying assumptions and the completeness and potential bias of the data used to parameterise and calibrate them.

An assessment of the potential trajectory of disease and mortality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the most appropriate response strategies, should be based on a comprehensive analysis of the specific epidemiological situation in each country, using modelling projections in context.


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