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October 31, 2020
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President Iohannis reiterates appeal to citizens to respect strictly the sanitary rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus

President Klaus Iohannis reiterated, on Tuesday, in a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace, his appeal to citizens to be prudent and to respect strictly all the rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Klaus Iohannis said, on the same occasion, that it is strange for two government institutions to give different results regarding the incidence of COVID-19 cases and emphasized that the Government must urgently clarify this situation.

“In my belief, there is an urgent need for correlation of data between these institutions and I expect the Government clarifies these problems urgently,” Iohannis said.

Permanent challenge of the sanitary rules maintains a state of disbelief

The constant challenge of sanitary rules and restrictive measures, in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, maintain a state of disbelief, president Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday, in a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace.

“The permanent challenge of sanitary rules and restrictive measures maintains a state of distrust, with major harmful effects on public health. The experience of the last few months clearly shows us that the situation can be kept under control by respecting the safety rules and by taking strict measures, when necessary, for limited periods of time,” the president said.

“Now we have much more medical information about the virus, and the authorities are constantly adapting and learning from their own mistakes to take the necessary measures. It is much easier to respect the sanitary measures now and be very careful than to regret later that we didn’t do everything in our powers to save the lives of our loved ones,” Iohannis said.

The president explained that we are currently witnessing “a period of galloping coronavirus spread.”

“Let’s not delude ourselves. This stage will not go away by itself. We will be able to overcome it only by strictly following the rules and encouraging everyone around us to do the same. We are a strong nation, it is time to prove it again,” Klaus Iohannis pointed out.

Waiting for Gov’t to urgently clarify situation on inconsistencies in official coronavirus numbers

President Klaus Iohannis, approaching at a press conference today the inconsistencies between the figures provided by the National Public Health Institute (INSP) and the Strategic Communication Group (GCS) with regard to the incidence of COVID-19 cases, said that this is a weird situation the government urgently needs to clarify.

Asked if he believes that this could have something to do with the fact that many positions in such public institutions are held by people with questionable academic qualifications, with fake or non-existing diplomas, the head of the state replied: “There certainly is a connection, but we have to be fair, that is, we have to treat those in office fairly, because these inconsistencies didn’t occur just the other day; they have been occurring all the time in the last 30 years, when many were promoted despite lacking the necessary qualifications for the respective positions and, as most of us in this room probably remember, the PSD has ruled Romania a good part of this period, promoting people with no competence, but with solid political support. Of course, there is a lot to mend here and this is called state reform, which I am keen to see carried out. (…) The INSP has meanwhile reviewed its figures and they agreed on the numbers, but there are many other decades-long issues that need to be corrected, that need to be fixed and set in a very clear and orderly framework to allow us to carry on at a different speed,” Iohannis said.

Education staff deserves risk incentive, but we must see if resources are available

President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday that education staff deserves an incentive in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and announced that he will ask the government to specify whether there are resources for this.

The President’s statement comes as the Chamber of Deputies adopted today, as decision-making body, the bill for the grant of a coronavirus risk bonus to educational staff.

“I didn’t read the bill, it didn’t get on my desk yet, but when this happens we will read it very carefully and we will ask for the government’s point of view, to see if there are funds available for this and we will decide accordingly,” Klaus Iohannis told a press conference today at the Cotroceni Palace.

“The question that arises is whether this is possible at this moment, but they surely deserve it, and they deserve to be supported, as well as the medical staff. I think everyone realizes that this is about the major systems that keep the society working and that prepare us for the future, but the desire to support and stimulate their activity and my desire to do this is just a part of the whole, because achievability is also measured in money, and in the context of an economic contraction, money is less than we would have wanted it to be,” Iohannis explained.

The bill adopted by the Chamber of Deputies provides for the grant, during the state of alert and the state of emergency, of a monthly at-risk bonus of 2,000 lei, and 1,500 lei respectively, to the teachers, as well as to the auxiliary teaching staff and the non-teaching staff in pre-university and university public education, private certified education and pre-university education units that operate under the umbrella of higher education institutions, to compensate for their exposure to the coronavirus risk.

President defends decision to hold general election in December as pertaining to essence of democracy

President Klaus Iohannis, speaking today at a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace, said that “the essence of democracy lies in free elections”, emphasizing the need for the society’s democratic life to continue and therefore hold parliamentary elections on December 6, despite the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

“We must see what kind of society we want to live in, if we want to live in a panic-stricken society that keeps hiding away, or if we want to live in a society that respects the rules but carries on with its democratic life. The essence of democracy lies in free elections. As long as the term of this Parliament comes to end in December, holding free elections is mandatory for having a new Parliament with full powers, and this will happen on December 6,” the President said.

Asked if a postponement of the parliamentary election wouldn’t be advisable, the President said he discussed with experts, doctors and specialists and none was able to tell him, “hand on heart, that things will be better in March than in December.”

Iohannis also noted that the evolution of the pandemic is the same across the entire Europe and that the recent rise in the number of cases cannot be blamed on a particular official.

“Unfortunately, the same evolution of the pandemic is noticeable not only in our country, but in the entire Europe, and it would be a very cheap excuse to look for one or several politicians to blame for this. The government and I, as well as all the other authorities are trying our best to prevent the spread of this pandemic in Romania. The results are what we see,” he said.

The head of the state emphasized the need for “more determined” measures to stop the pandemic.

“We have not yet reached a critical situation as regards the intensive care capacity, which is further being increased. It is however clear that at this time we need to take more determined action if we are to slow the spread of this pandemic,” Iohannis went on to say.

New steps towards accomplishment of Constanta – Gdansk infrastructure projects to follow next week

President Klaus Iohannis said today that new steps will be taken next week in carrying out the massive infrastructure projects announced by U.S. ambassador to Romania Adrian Zuckerman, specifically the construction of a motorway and a railway linking the ports of Constanta and Gdansk.

“These are two mega-infrastructure projects which were also discussed at the 2018 meeting held here in Bucharest, right in this hall. Important steps have been taken in the meantime, chambers of commerce have joined in associations and an investment fund was initiated, so I think that next week, when we will meet in videoconference, we will take new steps towards the accomplishment of these projects. Given their huge scale, I would not venture to say in what time frame they could be carried out, but it is important to understand that they are vital for our region, because they will provide a north-south connection which is of great interest for our country and I will advocate for decisive steps in the direction of these two projects,” Iohannis told a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace.

The US ambassador announced last week that along with Poland, the United States will start a new project for Romania – building a motorway and a railway linking the Black Sea port of Constanta to Poland’s port of Gdansk at the Baltic Sea.

Compiled from Agerpres

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