Minister of Health Alexandru Rafila on Thursday stated that the chances are high in the case of the people who were found positive after doing the coronavirus test, upon their return from South Africa, to be infected with the Omicron variant of the virus, considering that this is a viral strain with “many mutations.” He also added that the patients are asymptomatic and they will remain in isolation to be monitored for 14 days.
The minister has given this explanation when asked what was the scenario for the three people who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 upon their return from South Africa and for whom there was “a high suspicion of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
“Yes, this is the beginning of the sequencing procedure, which showed the presence of several mutations. It remains to be seen at the end of the analysis whether it is the Omicron strain or another, but the chances are high, precisely because it is a strain that has many mutations,” Alexandru Rafila stated on Thursday, at the end of the meeting with the representatives of the religious denominations from Romania where he participated together with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
Asked what the next steps would be for the authorities, the Health Minister explained: “We are talking about a strain that has appeared in many European countries as a result of travel to the African continent.”
“We decided to isolate and monitor the patients who have been infected. Fortunately, they are asymptomatic, so their health is good. They are being monitored and will be monitored for the entire period of 14 days,” explained Rafila, according to Agerpres.
Decision on COVID certificate mandate to be taken after inclusive consultations
Romania’s Health Minister Alexandru Rafila said on Thursday that any decision on making the COVID certificate mandatory will be a political one that will have to be taken by “consultative and inclusive” mechanism, emphasising that religious freedom is a basic component in that regard.
He was asked if in his opinion the mandate of the green certificate attesting to the COVID-19 vaccinations also applies to people entering places of worship.
“Religious freedom must be observed. I would like to change the name of the green certificate. It is, in fact, a request of the European Commission; the green certificate is intended for movement in the European Union. We are talking about a COVID certificate or COVID stop that each member state adopts domestically to fight against the pandemic, to contain the consequences of the pandemic. I believe that when we make a decision, which will ultimately be a political decision, we must use a consultative and inclusive mechanism. That is, it must not be a discretionary decision, it must be a rule that is known, understood, and followed by all, and religious freedom is one of the basic components. We can’t just say that there is, if you will, access to essential shops, as we believe that access to religious services must also take that into account,” said Rafila after a meeting on Thursday with Romanian church leaders, where also attending was Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
He said that the prime minister believes vaccination is part of the solution, but behaviour is another part of it.
“The prime minister was saying something very important: that vaccination is part of the solution. If we have the religious denominations with us, the society as a whole, then, I think, the other part about individual behaviour, individual responsibility, can be changed in such a way as to contain transmission,” said Rafila.
Asked if the COVID certificate law would be adopted by Christmas, he said: “It depends a lot on Parliament, but we will certainly have a decision this month to take action.”
“We were discussing in the past few days an option that would allow the use of the COVID certificate according to certain measurable epidemiological parameters, known for a long time by everyone,” said Rafila.