Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and other Cabinet members at the start of the Cabinet meeting, on June 11, 2020

11 June

Ludovic Orban: I delayed a little the start of the Cabinet meeting as I convened the National Committee for Emergency Situations, to adopt the decision which is the basis of the Government Decision on the relaxation measures to be enforced as of June 15.

At the meeting of the National Committee for Emergency Situations, we have decided to propose for approval by government decision the resumption of certain activities and more relaxation measures. First of all, I will refer to an extremely important measure regarding the isolation at home, of the people returning from abroad. The National Public Health Institute (INSP) will apply a methodology for assessing the spread of coronavirus infections in other countries and based on this methodology, it will assign an indicator, a coefficient, expressing the spread level based on the analysis of the average number of infections in the past 14 days. People returning from countries with a coefficient below 5 will be exempted from the requirement for 14-day isolation at home.

Countries with a low level of coronavirus spread, such as Austria, Bulgaria, Greece and other European countries – where it is obvious that based on the assessment to be applied in other countries as well, the INSP assessment is based on a methodology recommended at European level. It is normal that we renounce this isolation measure that causes problems for many categories of citizens.

Air traffic with all these countries with a coefficient below five, for which home isolation will no longer be necessary will also be resumed, certainly based on the decision of the National Committee for Emergency Situations and of the assessment conducted by INSP.

Surely, if there are Romanians leaving for a vacation, a seven –day one, when they return, they will not enter isolation at home, if they went to one of the countries with a low number of infections. The condition is that the number of days spent by the person coming to Romania from a country with the coefficient below 5 is 14 days, they should cumulate 14 days in one or more countries with a low spread level.

As regards the economic activities, the National Committee for Emergency Situations proposes the resumption of economic activities in commercial spaces with multiple stores, specifically in malls. However, we will keep in place the ban for mall cinemas, restaurants, cafes, dining places - those in enclosed spaces. Terrace activities will be allowed. Also, the gambling rooms in malls will be allowed to reopen. So the ban is kept in place for cinemas, playgrounds, restaurants. Spa treatment activities will also be resumed under the circumstances established by the Health Minister’s order.

It is a measure generating debates and in this respect, I have to tell you a few things. Once with school closure, it will cease the support measure instituted during suspended courses, which allowed a parent to stay home with their children, benefit from 75 percent of the salary. Therefore, this aid form operational during the state of emergency and alert, when school courses are suspended, will cease, and a lot of active families will be in a situation where it will be very difficult for them to find a solution, a person to take care of their children while they are at the job. Our recommendation for them is to do their best to find solutions within the family, to take care of children, but, if they do not find such solutions, we allow under very strict conditions regulated by the joint order of the Health Minister and Education Minister, the re-opening of kindergartens, afterschool activities which function normally during summertime. I repeat it is a very important measure.

The number of participants in outdoor sports and recreational activities will increase from three to six. The Lottery offices, gambling halls, bookmaker shops will reopen, with a relatively low epidemiological risk. These are measures we thought considering the low epidemiological risk of these activities.

Outdoor pools will open, not the indoor ones. Once with the summer season, it is natural for us to allow these activities to be resumed outdoors, the more as we saw a large number of people coming to seaside and mountain resorts in this period.

To sum up, these would be the measures to be applied as of June 15. I have seen in the media the information that today, we will extend the state of alert. We will not make today the decision of extending the state of alert, but next week, at the end of the state of alert declared by Government Decision, with the Parliament’s approval. Therefore, we will adopt the Decision extending the state of alert, on the Cabinet meeting next week, on the first meeting to be held. You know that the current state of alert will last until June 16 including. Our obligation is to adopt the Executive Decision on extending the state of alert until the current one expires- the Government Decision will have to be published in the Official Gazette during June 16.

I would say a few words about the need to extend the state of alert. The state of alert is indispensable to keep all regulations in force, irrespective of whether there are Government Decisions, Ministerial orders, all regulations needed to guarantee the safeguard of citizens’ health and life, regardless how this protection is ensured – by regulations we established – if it is about the job, means of transport, commercial spaces, terraces, and in all categories of activities for which there are regulations which have been instituted only with a view to protecting Romanian citizens from the infection with coronavirus.

The decision to extend the state of alert has no political connotation and for this reason, I was amazed to see how this subject is being politicized. The decision to extend the state of alert is endorsed by all specialists alongside whom I worked in this period, and who consider it is the only real solution allowing the Government and authorities involved in the COVID battle, to have all instruments necessary to stem the spread of this virus.

I would say a few more words. You know that we were involved in sending medical teams to other countries - Italy, Republic of Moldova; we also provided humanitarian aid to our brothers across the Prut. Following discussions at the level of the Foreign Ministries, between the Romanian Foreign Minister, Mr Bogdan Aurescu, and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, there is an aid request from Ukraine. I spoke with Minister Tataru to prepare a government decision to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which is facing a high - level epidemic and the spread of the virus also affects areas that are inhabited by Romanians, especially the Cernauti area, yet, the aid we will provide, will not go exclusively - as others have done - to our fellow Romanians in Ukraine, but we will provide it for Ukraine, for the most affected areas and in order to support Ukraine in its COVID battle. Minister Tătaru, are we ready with the draft government decision?

Nelu Tataru: Yes, Mr Prime Minister. I will request you to agree with the inclusion in the supplementary list of the draft decision to supplement the budget of the Ministry of Health from the Budget Reserve Fund available to the Government, stipulated in the state budget for 2020, for the provision of the humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The draft was submitted to the Secretary-General of the Government, in original, with all due approvals.

Ludovic Orban: Thank you, Minister! Minister Bode, you know our discussion; my express request that all repair works on the Autostrada Soarelui be completed so that there is smooth traffic flow, especially since there is obviously an increase in traffic, especially during the weekend, once with the beginning of the summer season.

Lucian Bode: Yes, Prime Minister. As we informed you, we decided to suspend all maintenance works on the Autostrada Soarelui, A2 motorway from June 15 to September 15. We completed 32 km, but today we received good news and we were pleasantly surprised. The Road Company lifted all its restrictions starting today, June 11. Therefore, on the Autostrada Soarelui, starting today, traffic is not restricted by highway maintenance works.

Ludovic Orban: It is very important that tourism, being weekend tourism, it is very useful for these restrictions to be lifted before the beginning of the weekend.

Lucian Bode: Starting today, there is unrestricted traffic, Mr Prime Minister.

Ludovic Orban: I am glad, Minister! Also, Minister Tătaru, my request is to speed up the procurement procedures for the masks that the 2.3 million Romanian citizens who are in situations of vulnerability, should receive in the shortest possible time. Thank you!








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