A scaled-down military ceremony with no defence hardware or public attendance was the main event organised today, Romania’s National Day, in Alba Iulia, at the Union Monument, as organisers capped the number of attendees – soldiers, officials, guests, journalists – at 100.
Gendarmes allowed access to the area in compliance with public gathering size during the COVID-19 pandemic under Government Decision 967 of November 14. Under the legislation in force, public assemblies are allowed if they do not involve more than 100 people and if certain measures – wearing a protective mask and keeping physical distance – are followed.
The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem, after which Prefect Nicolae Albu laid a wreath at the Union Monument and read out a message from Prime Minister Ludovic Orban. In the end, a moment of silence was held.
The attending soldiers serve with the 4th Gemina Infantry Division.
In recent years, tens of thousands of people attended the military parade in Alba Iulia, the place where the proclamation of the December 1, 1918 Greater Union, celebrated on National Day, took place.
The National Day events in Alba Iulia were held without public attendance, but they were broadcast online by the organisers.
Alba Iulia had been under quarantine until Monday night for 14 days. On Monday evening, the Alba County Committee on Emergency Management (CJSU) decided that the measure should not be extended. However, after a few hours, a new decision was adopted, ordering a new seven-day local quarantine. The decision establishing the new measure from December 1 at midnight entered into force after its publication on Tuesday afternoon in the Official Journal.
“A December 1 unfortunately atypical. I said that it is, perhaps, the most mournful after the [December 1989] Revolution. Of course, it is the fault of this pandemic that, unfortunately, wreaks havoc. What upsets me the most is that, although last night [Monday] the County Committee on Emergency Management decided to lift the two-week quarantine of the city precisely for the celebration of National Day, free movement and participation of people in the events we conceived, unfortunately, last night we received the news that the quarantine is extended by a week at the insistence of the National Institute for Public Health. I believe that, on this day, the quarantine should have been lifted even if they might consider that after 2-3 days it should be reinstated,” Alba-Iulia Mayor Gabriel Plesa of the Save Romania Union – Party of Freedom, Unity and Solidarity (USR-PLUS) told AGERPRES.
He added that he wishes there would be no more December 1 celebrated like this.
“I want us to get out of this pandemic more united and to appreciate, once again, the national, moral and Christian values. (..,). I think that December 1st must always be an important moment for the country,” concluded the mayor of Alba Iulia.
According to the Alba Public Health Directorate, the 14-day cumulative COVID-19 positivity rate was 7.97 in Alba Iulia on Tuesday, as 612 new cases were reported in the last 14 days.