Fresh News

Tuesday, 21 July

Press statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban at the end of the videoconference with prefects, on the issue of the healthcare crisis management

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Ludovic Orban: The videoconference with prefects and heads of institutions with control responsibilities at the level of each administrative-territorial unit has ended.

Within the analysis conducted, I requested some very important things to increase the effectiveness of the battle against the coronavirus spreading. The Public Health Directorates will need to urgently issue all decisions for the persons diagnosed with coronavirus, who either have not been admitted to hospital or were discharged before being cured. It is about 4,500 positive cases, for whom, until law passed, we had no legal ground to decide the isolation, healthcare assessment and treatment in hospitals or home for those without obvious symptoms. Also, speeding up epidemiological investigations regarding persons who have been tested positive so far, and regarding persons who are about to be diagnosed. It is very important for administrative decisions to be issued, whereby home isolation for 14 days be decided in case of any person who came into contact with persons tested positive.

I asked all institutions with control responsibilities under the prefects’ coordination, to speed up checks, to mobilize all employee with control responsibilities, to have an increased presence on-site, and to sanction those who breach law and healthcare rules imposed through normative acts which were issued by Government, Ministries, agencies and other authorities of central administration.

I asked the police to assist the Public Health Directorates with the fast identification of persons who came into contact with the infected persons, in order to decide in the shortest time possible, the home isolation or quarantine measures, if this is requested by the citizen. I asked the police to resume controls whereby to make sure that persons for whom isolation and quarantine were decided, comply with the measure taken by healthcare authorities.

We emphasized the need for preparing decisions for all necessary situations.

We are facing a significant increase in the number of positive cases, with a significant increase in the risk of the virus spreading in communities. If by June 1, we had at least one case in 350 localities, over the last 14 days, there has been at least one case in 954 localities. That means there is a spread risk because of the presence of at least one infected persons in over 950 localities. That means a significant increase in the spread risk and more decisive attitude of authorities in imposing all necessary measures to stem the virus spread.

Last but not least, we sent a very clear signal of firmness in the attitude of every institution in enforcing rules in all institutions, in all companies, regardless of the activity performed, all need to comply with rules.

One of the conditions to reduce the virus spread risk is the constant increase in the number of Romanian citizens who obey rules, protect themselves and the others against the virus spread. This should be done both through the information campaign and taking firm sanctioning measures against those who fail to obey rules. I am waiting for questions.

Reporter: Did you discuss the possibility of imposing quarantine in certain areas of the country?

Ludovic Orban: Surely, once with the entry into force of the law, there is this possibility to impose zone quarantine on local communities or zones if there is a significant spread of the virus, which is not in outbreaks area.

Reporter: On seaside and in mountain areas /.../

Ludovic Orban: It has no connection with the seaside and the mountain areas. Here, it is about the fact if in a locality, for instance, a village or a district in a town, a locality, there is a number of positive cases going beyond three cases per 1000 inhabitants, the zone quarantine can be declared, as well as restrictive measures taken for the quarantined area, considering obviously the main cause of the virus spread, in order to counter through restrictive measures, to diminish the virus spread.

Reporter: /.../

Reporter: /…/

Ludovic Orban: We are not in the situation of quarantining a county. There is currently a number of localities under surveillance. The procedure of quarantining a community has not been initiated, but there is a number…In Arges, for instance, there are three localities under assessment, and if the virus continues to spread, suspension can be decided. There are three or four localities in Brasov. An assessment on localities has been made. No measure has been taken so far, but if necessary, we will not hesitate to take such measures. Decisions are being made at the suggestion of the County Committee for Emergency Situations, with the notice of INSP, DSP, by order of the head of this committee.


Reporter: /…/ somebody refused the admission to hospital. What will DSP(Public Health Directorate) do in this situation?

Ludovic Orban: It requires the admission into hospital for 48 hours by administrative decision.

Reporter: /…/ if the individual refuses to be admitted to hospital?

Ludovic Orban: An administrative decision will be issued whereby the respective person will have to accept the admission to hospital if decision is issued; he has to observe the administrative decision. He can challenge the decision to a court if he does not agree with it, if the appeal is rejected, he is compelled to comply with the decision once this is issued.

Reporter: /…/ involvement of police

Ludovic Orban: Hopefully, this will not be necessary.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister, can you tell us what are the localities which could be quarantined?

Ludovic Orban: I cannot give you such information. When we kick off the procedure, we will publicly announce it.

Reporter: /…/

Ludovic Orban: I have told you that I cannot mention any locality!


Ludovic Orban: Coronavirus hotspots are not taken into account in assessing a community, an area if a hospital or a retirement home is a hotspot. The number of calculated cases are not linked to the number of cases in the respective hotspot, as the quarantine measure is taken only when there is community spread, and restrictive measures need to be taken.  But no, for the time being...

When we complete the procedure for such some zone quarantine decisions, we will announce them publicly and with all arguments.

Reporter: /.../

Ludovic Orban: According to my information, restested persons are not included, but law stipulates that public communication should distinctly outline persons who are positive at their first test, and persons who have been restested after being positive during the treatment. The data presented so far does not include retested persons, it is strictly about the number of new cases.

Reporter: You made it public /.../ that the local elections be organized in /.../ days. /.../

Ludovic Orban: No. I was asked if I agreed and I said yes.

Reporter: A discussion /.../

Ludovic Orban: This should be established by law. Following the decision of the Constitutional Court, it was provided that the Parliament decides how, and who is going to decide on the date of the elections. Parliament preferred the Parliament to make this decision.

Reporter: A decision ...

Ludovic Orban: Parliament has decided that any amendment of the law must be made by Parliament. No, I have not discussed the subject.

Reporter: Did you reach a decision along with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies /.../

Ludovic Orban: No, we did not discuss the subject.

Reporter: Could the PNL submit such a law in Parliament?

Ludovic Orban: To the extent that there is support, we can discuss this issue.

Reporter: /.../

Ludovic Orban: We will solve this issue soon.

Reporter: /… / for these 4000 people /.../

Ludovic Orban: Home isolation and healthcare assessment should be decided in this respect. These persons need to be diagnosed to see how many of them still test positive. If they are positive and have certain symptoms, they will be treated in hospital or in a department of the hospital, specially organized for treatment, and if they do not have symptoms, they can be treated at home if they wish, but a healthcare assessment for each of them will be carried out.

Reporter: /.../


Ludovic Orban: The first topic addressed in the video conference with the directors of the public health departments was my request to the directorates to assess their need for additional medical staff to be able to meet the challenges of stemming the virus spreading, especially in those public health departments, where medical staff is in high demand - Bucharest, Prahova, Arges, Galati, Timis, Arad – there are public health departments that need reinforcements, for sure. We now have at our disposal the legal instrument, which is provided for in Law 136, and which allows staff secondment based on volunteer action, or secondment decided without the agreement of the employee and of the head of the institution where the employee has been working.

 If we need staff at the Bucharest Health Directorate, if we need anaesthetists at the ICU department from "Matei Balş" Hospital, we second staff there; so we can practically now use this secondment lever. Moreover, the law also provides for an increased number of people who are seconded, which we hope will be one more argument, in addition to the willingness of medical staff, to provide the necessary human resource. Consider we need to increase the number of epidemiological surveys, of checks, the interaction with citizens, the organization of databases. There are a lot of things that need to be done by the public health departments, which lead to the increase /.../, including for Public Health Directorates and ambulances, the county ambulance services.

Reporter: Do you think that we can reach the situation in which we need to ask for international help, I am referring here to mobile intensive care units.

Ludovic Orban: We have purchased mobile intensive care units. We will continue the purchase of intensive care units; we also have mobile hospitals that we can install. I saw the example of the modular ward that was built in the courtyard of Elias Hospital, by “Daruieste Viata” and that proved to be a very good solution, which was put into practice at a fairly fast pace. We are mobilizing to take all measures. We will increase the number of ICU beds, as there is a potential to increase the number of ICU beds in more hospitals.

Reporter: The Minister of Health said that the next two weeks will be very difficult and we will reach more than 1000 cases daily. Does the healthcare system have the necessary resources to manage these cases? /.../

Ludovic Orban: There are resources for developments for at least two or three weeks, and, as long as we manage to stabilize, reach a ceiling in terms of the number of positive cases, then the number decreases, the health system’s capacity will not be exceeded. We still have additional resources that we can use and we will use all possible solutions to cope with the epidemic development.

Reporter: /.../

Ludovic Orban: No, it can be done by collecting samples, either by the DSP, or by ambulances, or by going to the hospital, depending on how each person who is at risk of infection and not under any form of control, desires.

Reporter: There is an update /.../ green area, yellow area /… /

Ludovic Orban: There are analysis criteria ... No, there are analysis criteria, a comparison with the number of cases in Romania will be made.

Reporter: /.../

Ludovic Orban: INSP will propose, CNSU will decide. When we have the assessment made by INSP, we will make the decision within the National Committee for Emergency Situations.

Reporter: The prefect of Suceava was heard today in Parliament. The answers were not /.../

Ludovic Orban: No one from the Government sent any Romanians to work abroad. Romanians went to work voluntarily, either having contracts with employment agencies abroad or as a result of developing direct relations with employers in other countries. People left voluntarily because they found jobs abroad. Many did not turn to employment companies, but simply based on the relationship with the employer, the direct relationship that had been built in previous years, bringing other friends, relatives to work at the same place. The issue was, from our point of view, and we solved it immediately after the Cluj case, on that very day, to make sure all the measures of healthcare protection are observed during the travel; we also had to verify the extent to which the rights of Romanian citizens are observed. I remind you that, following the visit of the Minister of Labor, Violeta Alexandru, to Germany, the legislation was changed in favour of the workers - not only of the Romanians but also of the workers from other countries, in which healthcare protection measures were introduced, contracts intermediaries were removed, and if a company is in difficulty and is unable to pay wages, the German government has assumed responsibility for paying unpaid wages to workers who have worked for companies in such situations. Thank you.

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