Press statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and Secretary of State Raed Arafat at the start of the Cabinet meeting

21 July

[Check against delivery]


Ludovic Orban: Before discussing the agenda, allow me to tell that the future sounds well for Romania and Europe. After heated negotiations, the white smoke started to rise and the European Council made the decisions that the EU citizens and Member States have been waited for a long time. Thanks to the special efforts made by Mr President Iohannis, Romania will benefit in the upcoming years of higher amounts than ever before, of almost 80 billion euros. Once the decision has been made, we need to speed up all procedures to prepare the Partnership Agreement on the EU budget for 2021-2027.

The Agriculture Ministry will have to prepare the National Strategic Plan, and the Ministry of European Funds, as coordinator, will have to accelerate the drawing up of the resilience and recovery plan that each country has to present, so as to substantiate the funding requests from the “Next Generation EU”. Even if very few expected an agreement to be reached at the European Council, because of the many divergent stands, I understood that an agreement was reached this morning at 6:30 am, a historical agreement which allows us to look to the future with confidence, both us as Romanians, and the European Union as a whole. It was a fundamental decision which will allow funding all the development projects we have thought for Romania. Surely, we need to be extremely involved further on, extremely careful in preparing programmes, projects, all documents necessary to ensure a more effective and faster absorption of these impressive resources that will serve the development programme. Once again, I particularly appreciate Mr. President’s results as well as his remarkable ability, he has succeeded in achieving a remarkable result for Romania which he announced this morning.

As for today’s Cabinet meeting, we finally have the Law of isolation and quarantine which entered into force as of midnight. Today’s meeting was convened to amend the Government Decision on prolonging the state of alert, and to include in the Government Decision the amendments necessary resulting from the law adoption. In fact, as of today, we have available all instruments like any government in any democratic country, and which allow us to effectively combat the pandemic. There are regulated by law the specific measures in the event of communicable disease epidemics, and we have been given the right to take public healthcare protection measures, isolation and quarantine measures, to treat patients in hospitals, or within an organized framework, under medical supervision. We need to remind Romanians that after the ruling of the Constitutional Court, over 900 patients requested discharge, and over 3,000 diagnosed Romanians were not hospitalized for treatment. We did not have any legal possibility to order isolation at home, their treatment in isolation at home or anywhere else.

As regards all the people who were infected during that time, as revealed by epidemiological investigations, we could not order the measure of isolation of the people who had come in contact with the infected people. These two weeks in which there was a legislative vacuum can have extremely negative effects on the spread of the virus. Our obligation is, once the law enters into force, to expeditiously take all the measures we have available from a constitutional and legal point of view to stop the spread of the epidemic. This morning, the National Committee for Emergency Situations convened by videoconference system, took the necessary decisions to prepare the Cabinet meeting. I will give the floor to the Secretary of State Raed Arafat, to present us the decision taken at CNSU. 

Raed Arafat: Good morning. Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. Therefore, Decision 36 of July 21, 2020, voted unanimously by the members of CNSU, the Committee for Emergency Situations adopts the present decision:

Article 1 - the COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020 is certified.

Article 2, paragraph 1 - starting with the date of this decision, the quarantine measure is established for persons arriving in Romania from countries / areas of high epidemiological risk established on the basis of the criterion provided for in paragraph 2.

- paragraph 2: the criterion for determining the countries or areas of high epidemiological risk is the cumulative rate of incidence of new positive cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants, which must be higher than that recorded by Romania in the similar period.

- paragraph 3: on the basis of the criterion provided for in paragraph 1, the National Institute of Public Health draws up the list of countries or areas for which the quarantine measure is established for persons arriving in Romania from these areas.

- paragraph 4: the list referred to in paragraph 3 shall be updated / reviewed weekly, every Monday by the National Institute of Public Health and published on its website.

Article 3 - the following categories of individuals who do not have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are exempted from the measure established according to Article 2, while observing legal provisions in force regarding the use of individual protective materials against COVID-19:

a) Persons coming to Romania from the areas or countries on the list drawn up in accordance with the provisions of Article 2, paragraph 3, but who, before arriving in Romania, have spent a consistent period of at least 14 days in one or more areas or countries for which this measure has not been established.

b) Drivers of freight vehicles with a maximum authorized capacity of more than 2.4 tons.

c) Transport drivers operating vehicles carrying people, with more than 9 seats, including the driver's seat.

d) drivers referred to in letter b) and letter c) who move in the interest of exercising their profession from their State of residence to another Member State of the European Union or from another State of the European Union to the State of residence, regardless whether the movement is by individual means or on their own account.

e) Members of the European Parliament, MPs and staff belonging to international institutions and the national system of defense, public order and national security.

f) Aircraft pilots and flight crew.

g) Locomotive drivers and railway staff.

h) Romanian maritime and river navigation personnel, who are assigned by any means of transport, who present to the competent authorities the certificate for international transport workers, the model of which is published in the Official Journal of the European Union, series C no. 96I / March 24, 2020.

i) Sea and river crew carrying out the exchange of crew, on board ships in Romanian ports regardless of their flag, if upon entering the country, as well as embarking / disembarking the ship, they present to the competent authorities the certificate for international transport workers, the model of which is published in the Official Journal of the European Union series C no.96I / March 24, 2020. Navigating personnel disembarking inland waterway vessels flying the Romanian flag in a Romanian port, as long as the employer provides the certificate for international transport workers and personal protective equipment against COVID-19, during the movement from the ship to the location where it can be contacted between voyages. Cross-border workers entering Romania from Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine or the Republic of Moldova, as well as Romanian citizens employed by economic operators from the above -mentioned countries, who upon entering the country, have proof of contractual relations with economic operators, respectively: employees of economic operators from Romania performing works according to the contracts signed abroad, upon their return to the country, if they have proof of the contractual relations with the beneficiary outside the national territory; the representatives of the foreign companies that have subsidiaries, branches, or agencies on the national territory, if upon entering the Romanian territory, they have proof of the contractual relations with the economic entities on the national territory. Persons entering Romania for activities of use, installation, commissioning, maintenance, service of equipment and technology in the medical, scientific, economic, defense, public order and national security, transport fields, as well as persons carrying out specific professional activities in the mentioned fields, if they have proof of the contractual or collaboration relations with the beneficiary or beneficiaries on the Romanian territory, as well as the inspectors of the international organizations, members of diplomatic missions, consular offices, and other diplomatic missions accredited to Bucharest, holders of diplomatic passports, personnel assimilated to diplomatic personnel, as well as members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps of Romania, holders of diplomatic passports, as well as members of their families, employees of the national defence, public order and national security system returning to Romania from missions abroad, pupils, students, Romanian citizens or citizens with domicile or residence abroad, who have to pass entrance exams or exams for completion of studies, or who started studies in educational units across the country, or are traveling for activities linked to the completion or the start of studies, members of international sportive delegations attending sports competitions in Romania, under law conditions.

Article 4 – the quarantine measure for individuals who have come into direct contact with infected persons is established, which is ordered for each person by the decision of the competent Public Health Directorate in the respective area.

Article 5 - paragraph 1 - for special situations involving participation in family events such as birth, marriage or death, travel for medical treatment interventions that cannot be potsponed, for example, in case of oncological diseases, chronic renal failure in hemodialysis program, renewal of identity documents, if you leave the country and so on, the temporary suspension of the quarantine measure provided for in Articles 2 and 4 may be analyzed on the basis of supporting documents.

- paragraph 2 - the analysis of the situations provided for in paragraph 1 is performed at the level of the county centers for coordination and management of the intervention, the cases considered justified may be subject to temporary suspension of the quarantine measure by decision issued by the Public Health Directorate.

- paragraph 3 - the suspension decision shall compulsorily mention its time frame and the measures to prevent the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Article 6 aims to complete the Government Decision no. 553/2020 on extending the state of alert on the territory of Romania, as of July 17, 2020, as well as establishing the measures to be applied during it, in order to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID pandemic -19, with measures regarding the possibility of establishing isolation and quarantine or zonal quarantine.

Article 7 - This decision is communicated to all components of the National Emergency Management System for implementation by order and administrative acts of their managers.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you, Mr. Secretary of State! With the emergence of Law 136 /.../, there are in fact two laws that we must have as legal basis, first, Law 55 which was a special law, also adopted following a decision of the Constitutional Court regarding the state of alert, and Law 136 on measures in the event of an epidemic. Therefore, in addition to the Government decision we will adopt, which reintroduces the measure of isolation, quarantine, zonal quarantine among the measures in Annexes 2 and 3 of the Government Decision on extending the state of alert, we will have to prepare all subsequent regulations which are necessary under Law 136. These are: the government decision on quarantine spaces, there are several normative acts that all must be prepared quickly. Today, I decided to participate, at 11:00 am, in the Meeting of the College of the Ministry of Health, in the videoconference with the directors of the Public Health Directorates and at 5:00 pm, in the videoconference with prefects and representatives of decentralized structures involved in the battle against COVID , to clarify all aspects, to transmit all the necessary measures following the adoption of the law, so that the action of the state institutions is effective in the battle against COVID. Thank you!

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