The government adopted on Thursday evening a decision and an emergency ordinance that set forth new nationwide measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 cases and which will take effect on Monday for a period of 30 days, the head of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU) Raed Arafat told a press conference at the Victoria Palace of Government.
“The government adopted yesterday a draft decision and a draft emergency ordinance. Subject to the observations the Legislative Council might have, the two acts will come into force starting this Monday. A new assessment will be made at the end of the 30-day period and the measures will be adjusted to the outcome then,” Arafat said.
The new regulations mandate mask-wearing in all open spaces, regardless of the respective locality’s Covid incidence rate, and provide for shops closing at 21:00.
“Whereas until now mask-wearing was mandatory only in closed spaces for an incidence rate of 1.5, and both outdoors and indoors from an incidence rate of 3 upwards, the requirement is now generalized regardless of the incidence. The presence in public space entails mask-wearing and this rule must be followed. Believe me, this is perhaps the measure that will most limit the spread of the virus if it is respected, and I am convinced that everybody will comply, as everyone is aware of where we stand in terms of the virus spread,” Arafat said.
He pointed out that, according to the new regulations, people’s movement during the night in the interval 23,00 and 5,00 will be banned with some exceptions, based on justifying documents – travel documents, work id, certificate issued by the employer, bona fide statement.
“The exceptions include movement in professional interest, for medical assistance that cannot be postponed, for procuring medicines, for child, elderly, disabled, ill persons care or escort, or in case of death,” Arafat explained.
Another decision is that on banning reunions for parties, anniversaries, holidays in outdoor or indoor spaces, with the exception of family members meeting at home.
The Government also adopted a decision banning the operation of markets and fairs.
“Exception to the rule are agri-food markets in outdoor spaces, which remain functional, with the observance of the distancing rules, mask wearing and hygiene rules,” Arafat pointed out, according to Agerpres.
The DSU head also explained the measure of the compulsory work schedule set off in at least two groups at least one hour intervals for staff involving more than 50 people, meant to reduce the impact on public transport and contact among persons and virus spreading.
Parties, anniversaries to be banned; no home searches, but guests should wear mask
Top emergency management official with the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat said on Friday that, although holiday reunions will be banned to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, no restrictions can be imposed inside private homes, adding that there is no legislation that would allow that, but his advice is that guests at such events should wear a mask.
“We can’t control private homes. In such case, again, there was a call for partnership with the public. The ban is a general one, but at home our advice is for people to follow the rules. Even if you invite someone to you – it may seem strange what I say – even when you invite someone who is not staying with you, someone coming to visit you, that person should wear a mask. But there is no figure, no cap on private gatherings. Parties and anniversaries and celebrations are banned. If someone still risks and wants to do something inside their home, they will do so then at their own risk. We are not going to say that we ban something inside home. We do not have such legislation allowing that,” said Arafat in connection with the case when a family receives other relatives.
He said police has the right to issue fines for disruption of public order.
“The police has the legal basis to issue fines for disruption of public order. And those who do that should understand once again: the best solution is to work together. We are trying to impose these measures, to explain them, to be taken over by the public without us coming to force them on them. But it is clear that if someone wants to risk and wants to continue to risk … Some will do that. Where there is a legal basis for action, action will be taken,” said Arafat.
Schools to move to online-only learning, nurseries, after schools remain open
Nurseries and after schools remain open, but schools will move to online-only learning under a general order to be issued by the Education Ministry, Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Interior Raed Arafat announced on Friday.
“The possibility is thus created for the Education Ministry to order the suspension of in-person school activities and their continuation in the online system. Nurseries and after schools remain open. Although the National Committee for Emergency Situations had proposed that these facilities too be closed, following discussions on this topic at the government meeting, the decision was made to keep after schools and nurseries open. Otherwise, following the ordinance, the Education Minister will issue the general order for the move of schools to online-only learning,” Arafat said.
He explained that the emergency ordinance creates the mechanism by which the Education Minister can issue the order for switching to online education.
“Up until now we had a mechanism for individual schools, where the boards make the findings, the inspectorate and the Public Health Directorate forward to the Committee for Emergency Situations proposals for decisions applicable at local level. Now, as this is about a nationwide decision to switch to online classes, a mechanism is necessary for the Education Minister to issue the relevant order and the ordinance provides the legal basis for this,” Arafat added.
The said that the government ordinance also regulates the obligation to work from home, providing for the mandatory organization of home or remote work where possible.
“All public or private institutions shall proceed to an analysis and let activities that can be carried out by telework or work from home to be done this way,” Raed Arafat added.
Rules for electoral campaign are those already established; nothing has changed
The Secretary of State with the Ministry of Interior Raed Arafat on Friday stated that the rules established for the electoral campaign did not change and are those already established.
“The rules for the campaign are those already established. So nothing has changed on those rules,” Arafat told a press conference at the Government headquarters, when asked whether electoral events with maximum 20 persons indoors and maximum 50 outdoors are still valid.
According to an information video of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP), the measures to be observed in the electoral campaign are: mandatory and correct wearing of the protective mask so as to cover the nose and mouth and mandatory disinfection of the hands, maintaining the physical distance of at least one metre between the participants in the electoral events.
Also, the number of participants in electoral events held indoors should be limited to a maximum of 20, and the duration should be a maximum of 2 hours, and in the case of outdoor events, the number of participants should be a maximum of 50.
For street actions, the number of people is limited to a maximum of 6 and a maximum of 2 in the case of “door to door” actions.
“The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior will monitor how the rules are observed, and non-compliance with the provisions will be sanctioned according to Law No. 55/2020 regarding some measures meant to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the video also shows.
Compiled from Agerpres