President Klaus Ioannis announced today at 14.00 that the state of emergency would be stretched for another 30 days until 14 May, and within 5 days the Parliament would have to vote on it. The decree signed by the President must be published in the Official Gazette.
In his statements, the Romanian President presented the decree extending the state of emergency throughout Romania for another 30 days, so that it remains in place until the most effective measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic are completed.
“Despite the unprecedented restrictions adopted by states around the world, there is no clear sign of a possible slowdown in the pace of the global pandemic. On the contrary, the number of people infected with the coronavirus, as well as the number of deaths caused by it, is on the rise daily at an alarming rate”, said Klaus Iohannis.
The Romanian President went on to add that: “It is quite clear that we are fighting an epidemic that is extremely difficult to control, even through the implementation of unprecedented social distancing measures adopted a month ago, which led to a state of emergency. Of course, without these isolation measures we would be facing an outbreak our health system would not have been able to tame. It is precisely this dark scenario that alongside the Orban government and the medical staff we were determined from the onset of the epidemic that it must be avoided. Stable and early action saves lives and produces positive results by flattening the curve”.
“The risk is not over and lifting restrictions in the next period, as some politicians ignorantly demand, will lead to a sharp rise in new cases, overcrowding in hospitals and enormous pressure upon the health care system”, Iohannis stressed, urging citizens to stay home so that they don’t end up in a hospital bed. “Stay at home so we can control our lives; otherwise we will witness a wave of outbreaks and deaths, which would mean that all the efforts, all the sacrifices we have made so far, they will have been in vain”.
“Therefore, it is necessary for the state of emergency to be extended, which implies the maintenance of the measures already taken, as well as new regulations which will allow public authorities to intervene decisively and with adequate means of crisis management. During this state of emergency, provisions are needed to facilitate the smooth running of public administration, justice and other public services, as well as of infrastructure that provides basic services to the population, the state and economic actors”, he continued.
In addition, schools will remain closed; all educational activities that involve physical presence in school facilities are suspended and e-learning activities will be scheduled where possible.
Furthermore, with the decree it was decided that the government will take all measures to ensure the food security of the citizens by continuing to supply, produce, process, and transport food to individuals in order to cover their needs.
During a state of emergency, a price cap can be imposed on medicines and medical equipment, strictly basic food and on utilities such as electricity and heating, gas, water, sewerage or fuel.
However, a special provision was included in the decree in the event that there would be a drop in electricity and gas prices in regional markets. In this case, the government will take the necessary measures to ensure that these reductions will affect the price paid by the consumer.
The decree issued today also provides that, in cases of non-compliance with public service obligations during a state of emergency by persons occupying managerial posts, posts in public health services, health insurance companies, ambulance services, as well as central and local public authorities and bodies with responsibilities in the field of social protection, regardless of their status extraordinary measures could be imposed, including layoffs.
The decree also explicitly states that, amidst a state of emergency, the management of public health units shall be carried out by personnel seconded to institutions in charge of national defense and security.
“During this critical period, the notice periods in cases of resignation of staff working in health facilities, social welfare, medical and social assistance and in matters of defense, public order and national security are suspended for as long as the state of emergency lasts”, Iohannis said, adding that “another area I wanted to consolidate was the additional protection of vulnerable populations. Thus, during this period, it is forbidden to stop or suspend the activity of accommodation centers for the care and assistance of the elderly, of children and adults, with and/or without disabilities, as well as of other vulnerable groups”.
According to the new decree, in the field of justice judicial activity continues only in cases of emergency.
In the field of transport and infrastructure, the government is setting specific conditions for the provision of transport services, passengers and goods, so that the protection of people and goods remains a priority.
What is more, it is also provided that network operators are responsible to secure the smooth operation of the electronic communication networks and to avoid possible situations of traffic interruption.
“If the restrictions are respected by all of us, we will save lives. In these times, I repeat, we are all vulnerable if we ignore the measures imposed by the authorities. This crisis can only be overcome in unity”, Iohannis said, adding that “every crisis, no matter how difficult, brings opportunities. We will have the opportunity to be better at what we do; to be united and determined, so that together we will be able to really build the country we envision. Only together can we get through this difficult time!” /ibna