Romania’s centrist minority government introduced new progressive restrictions late on Thursday to stem a rise in new coronavirus infections, including making mask wearing mandatory outside, but opted to keep schools open.
The number of new COVID-19 infections in Romania reached 12,032 on Thursday, a new record high, and intensive care units across the country were running out of space as the country has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the European Union.
The government made masks mandatory both in indoor and outdoor public spaces in places where the case incidence exceeds 6 per 1,000 people.
Access to restaurants, gyms, theatres, cinemas and other indoor spaces would be enabled at half of capacity and only for people who were fully vaccinated or have already been infected.
Weekend curfews will be introduced for those who are not vaccinated.
Schools have been uncoupled from the case incidence rate to enable them to remain open unless COVID-19 cases are reported in specific classrooms. School staff and students will undergo regular, non-invasive testing.
Romania is trailing European Union vaccination lists, with just over a third of its adult population fully vaccinated amid distrust in state institutions and misinformation campaigns. About 40% of medical and school staff are not vaccinated.
The country has started offering a third COVID-19 vaccine dose on Tuesday, highly recommending it to medical staff and at-risk people but leaving it open to anyone who received their second dose more than six months ago.
Photo – A Romanian medical personnel woman, wearing protective equipment, waits for persons to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, in front of he improvised test center organized at the National Arena Stadium, in Bucharest, Romania. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT