Romania is entering partial lockdown as of Monday, November 9, with all schools going exclusively on line, with face mask becoming mandatory countrywide, according to the latest measure adopted by the National Committee for Emergency Situations on Thursday evening following spectacular rise in the number of new COVID-19 infections.
Romanians will be banned to travel during the night, from 23:00hrs to 05:00hrs, except for the cases when they go to work or for medical assistance, if they are in transit or travel by plane, train or coach or if they go to take care of elderly, sick or disabled people. People who are going to work during this time frame at night must provide an affidavit or show their permit released by the employer or the work pass.
Both private or public employers are asked to enforce the work-from-home system if they can do it.
Private events such as anniversary parties or other holiday celebrations are forbidden, while indoor markets are closed down, as well as other fairs, flea markets or mixed markets.
Stores and shopping malls are compelled to stay open during 05:00hrs to 21:00hrs, except for the pharmacies, gas stations or “delivered to your door” companies.
These latest measures are valid for 30 days, with authorities deciding if they maintain or lift them depening on the epidemiological situation after one month.
The Head of the Emergency Situations Department, Raed Arafat, has explained in a press conference oin Friday why these actions had been taken.
“It will be up to every of us, everyone can help and be part of this major effort to contain the impact of the virus through simple gestures“, Arafat said.
“It will probably the measure that will lead the most to the containment of the virus spread, if respected”, he argued.
Arafat also explained why the night travel have been restricted form 23:00hrs to 05:00hrs. “It is the time frame when youngsters are mostly traveling, paying visits to one another, throwing parties. There are other countries that took this measure as well following studies proving on this impact”.
The emergency situations chief said the number of people paying visits cannot be limited, as no checks can be done at the people’s houses, yet he called on Romanians to be cautious and observe the safety sanitary measures.
Iohannis: Actions taken so far no longer enough
In a press statement Thursday night, at the end of the Government sitting that he had attended, President Klaus Iohannis explained that more restrictions are needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the actions taken so far are no longer enough.
“Today (e.n. Thursday) we have had almost 10,000 new cases of people infected, we still have many, too many who have died and we have to be very realistic: stronger measures are needed to contain the transmission of the pandemic. The measures that have been taken so far are no longer enough. Further measures are required countrywide: all classes in schools must go online, public and private employees should work remotely wherever possible, shops should be closed in the evening, at 21:00hrs, at the latest, nightly traffic should be restricted, private and public parties should be banned, fairs and markets should be closed, wearing a mask should become mandatory everywhere in the country, in all public places and at all work places, whether we are talking about indoor or outdoor public places, mask wearing must become mandatory, and companies and authorities must be compelled to enforce a time-delayed programme to prevent congested public transportation means and thus enabling social distancing,” President Iohannis said.
The head of state argued that authorities want to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and, at the same time, want to give doctors a chance to treat serious cases in hospitals.
“At the same time we want to continue business activities. We do not want to close the Romanian economy, we want to take measures by which people are protected and the economy continues to operate and yes, we want Romanians to continue their lives as close as possible to a normal life, but these are not normal circumstances, we are amidst a pandemic and we cannot ignore that,” the Romanian president underlined.