Romania: Third military decree issued to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

Romania: Third military decree issued to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

As part of the state of emergency, the Romanian authorities last night issued a third military decree to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the press, Internal Affairs Minister Marcel Vela announced yesterday that “the most serious crisis Romania has experienced in recent years” requires that the Romanian authorities “act immediately” and “implement tougher measures”.

“Dear Romanians, the worst crisis in recent decades has also affected Romania; we are talking about this terrible virus that has affected us and the whole world. Just in one day, 186 people were infected in our country. We must act immediately and take stricter measures”, Vela said.

The Minister announced the provisions included in the military decree no. 3 which entered into force on Wednesday, 25 March at 12 noon, and provides for mandatory restrictions on the daily movement of the population, restrictions on maritime and river links and compliance with isolation measures.

Military Decree No. 3 prohibits citizens from stepping outside except for specific cases which should be justified by the presentation of a certificate by the employer or by a declaration signed by the person concerned which specifies the reason and date of the movement.

Persons over the age of 65 may only leave their home between 11:00 and 13:00 for basic necessities, medical care, assistance to children or vulnerable persons, physical activity or for the needs of pets. Therefore, such persons shall be authorized to leave their residence, except for the aforementioned period, either for business reasons or to engage in agricultural activities.

To better manage the situations created during this period, Romanian Army soldiers will join the forces for the instatement of public order, the gendarmerie and the police.

In addition, starting 11 pm on 25 March, commercial flights to Germany and France will be suspended for 14 days. This measure does not apply to flights operated by State aircraft, cargo or mail flights, humanitarian cargo flights or emergency medical services.

The new measures garner reactions

The transitional Social Democratic Party (PSD) chairman Marcel Ciolacu took to Facebook to criticize the decision announced by President Klaus Iohannis to prohibit people over 65 to leave their homes. He noted that, before a military decree was issued forcing the elderly to stay home, solutions must be prepared to assist their everyday lives, adding that they should help those who stay in their homes.

For his part, the President of the Alliance of Democrats and Liberals (ALDE) Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu believes the provisions adopted by the government to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and combat the fiscal impact stemming from it constitute “a small step forward”, but those measures must be made functional. “The decrees issued by the government, which are a good but small step, must be implemented quickly with clear and simple enforcement measures and be communicated to any employer or employee in need of assistance. Isolation at home will be difficult, so we all need to think of solutions that will make it less painful”, Călin Popescu-Tariceanu stated.

Tougher measures are needed against the COVID-19 epidemic as the spread of the virus accelerates, especially to prevent the medical system from collapsing, said the President of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romanians (UDMR), Kelemen Hunor.

Finally, USR called for the urgent adoption of measures to protect medical staff by providing tests for physicians and nurses, securing the appropriate equipment, and creating different flows for coronavirus patients from the rest of patients. “In order for Romania not to end up like Italy in just a very short time, where 9% of those infected are health professionals, it is essential that measures be taken to protect the staff. The measures include tests for doctors and nurses, providing the appropriate protective equipment and the establishment of different flows for patients with coronavirus from the rest of the patients. Protecting medical personnel is a matter of national security and should be treated as such by the authorities”, the USR posted on Facebook. /ibna