Romania has imposed stricter pandemic measures amid rising COVID-19 cases that authorities say could overwhelm the country’s health system.
The new measures include mandatory mask-wearing with fines up to €500, authorities said.
Bars and restaurants can stay open until 10 p.m. and operate at 50% or 30% capacity depending on the area’s infection rate, and COVID-19 passes are required.
The same goes for sporting events, gyms, and cinemas. Meanwhile, quarantine and isolation periods have been reduced.
Infections in Romania have risen from fewer than 1,000 new cases in December to around 6,000 in the past week.
It is the highest number since early November when cases fell after a vicious fourth wave.
Romania, a European Union country of around 19.5 million, is the bloc’s second-lowest vaccinated nation against COVID-19, with just 40% fully vaccinated.
Experts blame widespread disinformation, a strong distrust of government authorities and an ineffective national campaign among reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
Photo – A Romanian elderly woman, wearing a protective mask, waits in bus station backed by a Christmas related commercial advertisement, in downtown Bucharest, Romania. The advertisement reads: ‘PUT YOUR PERFECT GIFT UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE: A LUCKY LOTTO TICKET!’. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT
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