Restrictions will be lifted gradually after May 15, based on a single criterion, the one related to the epidemiological risk, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban stated on Monday.
“Our intention is to lift restrictions gradually after May 15, by having one single criterion in mind, namely that of the epidemiological risk. We are going to lift first the restrictions that generate the smallest epidemiological risk. The assessment of this epidemiological risk will be made by the specialists from the Public Health Institute, the Technical-Scientific Support Council attached to the National Department for Emergency Situations and we are going to base our decision regarding the lifting of the restrictions on this epidemiological risk,” Ludovic Orban told a press conference held at the Victoria Palace on Monday.
We test depending on needs and based on protocol established by WHO
Testing for COVID-19 has been done in Romania “depending on the needs and based on the protocol that was established at the WHO level”, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Monday, adding that our country is “at the bottom of the ranking, compared to developed countries,” with a death rate recorded in Romania of 4.1 per 1,000 people.
“I know that it has been said many times that we have few cases because we do not test enough and we replied that we test depending on the needs and based on the protocol that was established at the WHO level, and which is also promoted by the European Commission and validated by the Ministry of Health, through the National Institute of Public Health. And there are also many other indicators that can measure the spread of the epidemic,” Orban explained in a conference press at Victoria Palace.
He specified that an indicator is the number of people in the ICUs.
“Never in Romania we had more than 260 people in ICUs. Also, another indicator is – and I don’t like to talk about it, but we have to talk – the number of deaths. Regarding the number of deaths, I want to tell you that, while in Romania we had 800 people who died of coronavirus, in Spain there were 25,264 people who died, in France there were 24,895, not to mention Belgium which has the highest number of deaths per hundred thousand inhabitants, while Romania has 4.1 deaths per thousand inhabitants, being at the bottom of the ranking compared to developed countries,” said the prime minister.
IntMin Vela: Bona fide declarations for people’s movement not needed after May 15, unless cases exploding
In turn, Interior Minister Marcel Vela came up on Monday with some clarifications on the restrictions to be lifted after May 15. He told Antena 3 private broadcaster that bona fide declarations for people’s movement during the COVID-19 are singled out for being discarded after May 15, when a state of alert will be declared except for quarantined areas, however we are still two weeks away, and the cases of infection with the novel coronavirus have to be on a downward path for that to happen.
“All the travels to another area will be analysed once again, and probably or almost certainly those declarations will no longer be needed. We want no one to need the declaration, in the event that the trend in the cases recorded in medical statistics is downward and we are equally responsible for two more weeks. There are two more weeks until a decision and we all wish, wholeheartedly, not to be an explosion of cases that could jeopardise the optimistic outlook we are all – President, government and the public – thinking about. That is in our analysis and we want no more bona fide declarations elsewhere than in the quarantined areas,” Vela said.
He added that business lockdown restrictions at dental offices are being considered to be eased first and staged, after two weeks, in other areas – hairdressing, cosmetics, sports training, individual sports or individual sports activities such as hiking, cycling, and angling. Anyhow, our desire is to ease restrictions from May 15 – and we are working on a plan, strategy, documents – but it depends on all of us,” the minister said.
According to him, the decisions will be taken by the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations at a meeting that will take place prior to the expiration of the ongoing state of emergency, on the same day or the day before, and will be chaired by the prime minister.
“The state of alert is not an exceptional measure, it refers to the immediate implementation of the action plan and measures to prevent and warn the population and to limit the removal of some consequences of the state of emergency. The state of alert is a transition to the state of normalcy,” Vela explained.
The National Committee for Special Emergency Situations could decide, during state of alert, to quarantine some areas.
“Tonight we quarantined a neighbourhood in Buzau because there were suddenly several positive cases – 19 cases. (…) In these cases of recklessness or major risk we will not rule out the hypothesis that after May 15, by a decision of the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations, decisions will be made that imply restrictive measures being ordered in an attempt to contain the spread of the infections with the new coronavirus,” indicated Vela.
Asked if fines are issued in a state of alert, he said that any penalties will be decided by the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations.
“The state of alert will be declared by the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations and will be managed by this committee that analyses the proposals of a technical group that will look into the real situations, the epidemiological state. Any penalties are then decided by the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations. If the committee decides that a mandatory decision providing for a coercive measure shall be applied for the state of alert, then it will be applied, if not, it will not. Everything that will be decided will depend on the epidemiological rules,” Vela also explained.
He added that decisions regarding the elderly will also be made by the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations. “Everything will be discussed at that time. My personal opinion, if we keep this line, this tendency to be rigorous and to respect all conditions until May 15, there will be no more such restraints. If, God forbid, cases like Buzau happen, it will be the epidemiologists to decide, not politicians. (…) What we will intend to do after May 15, will certainly be to let people over 65 to go out freely, but we impose certain conditions, such as wearing a mask, keeping a certain distance on public transport, if they go to work their work hours will be modified, and they will have their body temperature taken by thermometers,” said Vela.