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Saturday, 10 October

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, after his visit to the Public Health Directorate in Bucharest

 

 

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, after his visit to the Public Health Directorate in Bucharest

 

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Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, can you tell us why you came here today?

Ludovic Orban: To actually see how all the procedures are being conducted at the Public Health Directorate of Bucharest, to try together with the DSP management to find out where the deadlock is and, especially, what measures can be taken to improve activity, for them to be able to take the calls of citizens and to conduct all legal proceedings as soon as possible.

Reporter: And what solutions did you propose?

Ludovic Orban: We have identified several elements, there are many technical elements, for example, the data that is required from patients to be tested. The ambulance teams or the DSP teams, when they go to pick up patients, must fill in the minimum data: CNP(Personal identification code), the ID address, the address where the patient actually lives, the mobile phone for fast communication and the e-mail for data communication. Secondly, communication between the centre and the patient tested is ensured by the Public Health Directorate. Currently, the medical centres, after testing, send to the DSP, by e-mail, all the test results for each person, it is not a dedicated software that can automatically enter a database and generate all procedures. You know what it's like, if it's a negative result, this should be urgently communicated via telephone. If the test is positive, this is communicated first by text message, afterwards, the tested person is subject to epidemiological investigation to identify his/her contacts. From the centre, all test results are stored by a dedicated software. There is this dedicated software, the centres should send not only the scanned certificate but also introduce data into a database, in excel format. The centre should communicate to DSP and to the patient also, as it has the respective data, and there is twofold information of a patient who was in the centre, whether he is tested positive or negative.

Also, the health assessment procedure. Currently, the procedure is done only in hospitals, where there is a waiting period until there are vacant beds in hospitals. Here the capacity of radiology must be increased, by seconding radiologists who can work in shifts, as currently, there are no night shifts for radiology and because of this, medical assessment cannot be made 24 hours a day if lungs x-ray is necessary.

There must also be better communication. And here the hospitals have to enter the software dedicated to coronavirus, coronaform as it is called, to load all the data, ie patients who got cured, etc. Currently, only certain data is communicated to the DSP.

As of today, a new call centre system has been introduced, through which the caller, if positive, must press the key 1, where he gets information, if he is a contact person, also if he needs the DSP's decision to obtain medical leave and press key 6, only if he wants other information and is not satisfied with the information he obtained through the previous five options, he gets in touch with the call centre operators. I talked to the director, we need an increase in staff, certainly not a very large one, for epidemiological investigations, an increase in staff so that we can provide shifts for resident doctors, especially seconded ones, who interact with citizens via the call centre.

Reporter: How many people are needed?

Ludovic Orban: I will receive the exact assessment, depending on the need to meet all the requests. I wanted to be present here, to actually see what is happening, because it is clear that the number of cases has increased and there is a need for improvement, a streamlining of all procedures, so that any citizen who took a test, can receive the result immediately. In this respect, I can tell you that the processing speed of tests has increased, I even checked several data, but the communication also needs to be done in a timely manner. Also, the most important goal is that as soon as a person has tested positive, an epidemiological investigation is conducted as soon as possible, within 24 hours if possible, so as to identify the contacts of that respective person, and quarantine can be ordered until the persons who have been close contacts of a positive person, are tested.

Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, there was a lot of discussion in the public space about that figure of 4,000 cases in 24 hours, what can happen in a situation like this, considering that today ...?

Ludovic Orban: All the mobilization at the level of all institutions aims to reduce the number of positive cases as much as possible. Of course, we need the collaboration of all institutions, institutional and economic actors, which must be involved in securing compliance with the rules and we need the collaboration of the citizens, whom I once again urge to observe the rules for the protection of public healthcare. The higher the number of people who follow the rules, the smaller the number of infected people.

As for the analysis, I looked even now, it certainly does not have the character of statistical analysis, but, events, such as weddings, baptisms, festive meals, parties and such activities in which people are likely not to protect themselves and attend in very large numbers, have a very high incidence in the spread of the virus. We have also paid more attention to public transport, especially public transport that takes place on industrial platforms, from home to work and from work to home, because here too some transport companies are not involved in ensuring compliance with the rules. In this respect, from my point of view, the driver must ask all passengers to wear a mask and keep the distance. The vehicles should not be crowded, or overcrowded, even if this means an increase in the transport costs. And obviously, there are other areas where there is a higher incidence of the spread of the virus.

Reporter: You know that there is a big problem with DSPs that they do not answer the phone, ie a man who is infected calls the DSP and no one answers. How do you intend to solve this problem?

Ludovic Orban: I was personally at DSP, I also answered the phone. It's very complicated for those on the shift, ten people to deal with a lot of calls. But now, after the new system was introduced in collaboration with STS, the pressure has already dropped. The number of people pressing key 6, as they say, is smaller because they receive information. For example, today the highest frequency of phone calls, because I asked all the resident doctors I worked with, was related to the test result, that people had not received the test result yet. Someone even called three hours after the test. It's a wait. In a way, I understand people. But there is a procedure from the moment the nasopharyngeal exudate is taken, it is sent to the diagnostic centres and as soon as the diagnostic centres communicate the result, the Public Health Directorate notifies all the positive cases, first with a text message, after which these persons are contacted for epidemiological investigations. In this respect, we requested an increase in the speed of conducting the epidemiological investigation. There are still delays in conducting epidemiological investigations. I even suggested that, until these delays are recovered, certain staff should deal with epidemiological investigations that have not been conducted within the deadline, and the rest of the staff should deal with the up-to-date epidemiological investigations, all data coming from the diagnosis centres regarding people who are positive.

Reporter: Tell us what is happening in Bucharest, if next week the spread level reaches three per thousand inhabitants? What are the solutions?

Ludovic Orban: It is regulated in the government decision. If the incidence rate of three per thousand is exceeded, cases accumulated over the last 14 days, schools will switch to full online operation. A very thorough assessment must also be made here. You know that, as a rule, we said we take out the cases that do not reflect the spread in the community. It is possible to reach, including the quarantine of certain areas. We hope that we do not get there and I am convinced that people understand the situation we are going through, that they will take care and that they will protect themselves from infection. I forgot to tell you, what I anticipated the day after the election, the parties after the victory. And there were people who were infected and it's an incidence ...

Reporter: Are you referring to the mayor of Crevedia?

Ludovic Orban: Not only. Therefore, think that in each locality, after the election victory, the winning team celebrated. And  10, 20, 50, 100 people gathered together in one place. Many attended these celebrations without wearing a mask. It can be seen that it is a pressure /.../.

Reporter: Therefore, could all schools return to the red scenario in Bucharest? Are you considering this possibility?

Ludovic Orban: We do not analyze it now. It is regulated ever since the start of schools.

Reporter: Will all schools return to this scenario?

Ludovic Orban: In the case of over three per thousand, the transition to the red scenario, namely online education is stipulated in the Joint Order of the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education.

Reporter: Police and prosecutors from the General Prosecutor's Office claim that the former head of the National Office for Money Laundering Prevention fooled you.

Ludovic Orban: That is his problem. Yesterday, I had his resignation on the table, I requested the Finance Ministry his resignation on the table, he no longer leads the Office.

Reporter: How did Laurentiu Baranga manage to become...?

Ludovic Orban: He already held a public office at that time. I do not know the details, I admit I have not followed them very carefully. This appointment had been evaluated, we observed all the candidate assessment procedures. I have not had this information about his fake diplomas and I understood it is about all his diplomas.

Reporter: Tell us, how can be solved the problem of the DSP personnel, considering that the family doctors who were requested to help the DSP doctors in the epidemiological investigations do not agree are not pleased to do this. What is your opinion?

Ludovic Orban: I discussed with Minister Tataru. We are looking for a solution, including finding a possibility of motivating family doctors to get involved. I will give you one example in this respect. It is very difficult for hospital doctors who are taking care of patients, either in intensive care or in other departments, to supervise the healthcare evolution, and the evolution of the health state, including cure or emergence of new symptoms that do not require dialling 112. I am sure that the family doctor can be involved, and obviously should be remunerated in accordance with the legislation regarding COVID -19, regarding the activities they carry out in relation with their patients, as family doctors.

Reporter: What should the family doctors do?

Ludovic Orban: They should supervise the state of health, see exactly the treatment, the evolution of each patient.

Reporter: Will they conduct an epidemiological investigation, alongside the DSP?

Ludovic Orban: I think that a family doctor might have the competence of conducting epidemiological investigations. After all, these epidemiological investigations, from my point of view, their speed is important, that in fact what do we pursue through epidemiological investigations? Of course, we also want to find out where the person got infected, but we are especially interested in discovering the contacts of the positive case, so that these people do not spread the virus in the community.

Reporter: Beyond the question of whether the diploma is fake or not, does it seem normal for a person who passed the baccalaureate exam at the age of 32 to run a very important institution within ...?

Ludovic Orban: He no longer runs any institution!

Reporter: But he ran it.

Ludovic Orban: Too short time!

Reporter: I want to ask you about the phone calls you received today. You talked to patients today, didn't you, at DSP? How many people have you talked to?

Ludovic Orban: With citizens from Bucharest.

Reporter: And what did they tell you? What  did you tell them?

Ludovic Orban: There were different situations: some were interested in finding out the test result, others told me that they had not yet received the DSP decision that they need as a contact person to obtain medical leave, others told me different situations they were facing. It was an interesting experience and I am glad that I was able to find out more about the activity and the problems of the entire medical staff and the staff of the Public Health Directorate.

Reporter: And did you tell them, who were they talking to?

Ludovic Orban: No. Even an interlocutor, a citizen, after communicating with me told me that as I speak I can make a political career. But first he didn't recognize me, then he eventually realized who he talked to.

Reporter: And I wanted to ask you, if you allow me, regarding the quarantine of Bucharest, if it is possible to reach such a situation /.../?

 Ludovic Orban: Our goal is not to end up in this situation.

Reporter: What if we exceed the number of three cases per thousand?

Ludovic Orban: If the citizens follow the rules, if they protect themselves from this twisted virus, we will not reach this situation. Otherwise, we have laws, we have regulations that will be enforced depending on the situation.

Reporter: The number of patients in intensive care is growing very fast. Do you seek solutions?

Ludovic Orban: There are already prepared solutions. As we approach a percentage of 80% of the current capacity, solutions are already underway to increase the treatment capacity in the intensive therapy wards.

Reporter: And I wanted to ask, given the lack of medical staff in the country, if we turn to other countries, as we helped, for example, Italy, Moldova? What if we ask for help?

Ludovic Orban: We don't need it yet. I wish we do not end up needing this help, but I am convinced that if we launch an appeal, we will receive support. On the other hand, I believe that the health system, doctors need to mobilize. Many are mobilized and many of those who have been involved for months in the battle against coronavirus have already accumulated certain fatigue. On the other hand, I ask them to resist and I also ask all those who are asked to help this fight against COVID to join us.

Reporter: There is a protest of those who do not want to wear a mask in the University Square. What do you want  to convey to them?

Ludovic Orban: To wear a mask, if they don't want to get sick. You better wear a mask like this than wear an oxygen mask or, God forbid, be on mechanical ventilation. It's much easier to wear a mask.

Reporter: Under these conditions, should protests still be allowed? Because, as you can see, people don't follow the rules, because you imposed ...

Ludovic Orban: I am convinced that those who do not follow the rules will be fined in accordance with the law.

Reporter: Those who attended this protest did not wear masks or observe physical distancing, and there is no clear intervention by law enforcement.

 Ludovic Orban: You saw that we avoided having law enforcement interventions, especially since there were several demonstrations that were not big ones, and did not have a theme, this seems to be an absurd theme to demonstrate against mask-wearing, as it is a scientifically proven thing by all specialists that the mask is in fact a means of protection against infection. This is like a protest against public health, including a protest against one's own health. I mean, it seems like a completely meaningless gesture.

Reporter: We're just trying to understand. That is, we see interventions in clubs and we do not see interventions where 100 people stay close to each other, without masks.

Ludovic Orban: And what to do? To disperse them, to create even more ... No. The law will be enforced. Thank you.

Reporter: But should the mask be mandatory nationwide, are you considering such a measure? The president was also talking about such a possibility.

Ludovic Orban: Of course, if the number of  positive cases increases, this situation can be reached as well. On the other hand, it is important that the mask be worn indoors, and outside the premises, in crowded spaces, in squares, at train stations, in bus stops, everywhere where there are crowds, as required, for example, around schools; many did not understand why the decision was made to wear a mask around schools; because there are many parents or grandparents who take their children to school and some of them could be seen not wearing a mask, and then I decided that it is mandatory to wear a mask within 50 or 100 meters around the schools, so that parents also have the obligation to wear a mask, not only children.

Reporter: Therefore, all these measures in order to avoid the state of emergency. Therefore, the issue of declaring the state of emergency has not yet been raised in this respect?

Ludovic Orban: You should know that I always follow by comparing data. We certainly have an increase in cases, one that is bigger than we would have expected. On the other hand, we can still stop it, so we can stop this increase. I have watched it very carefully, including on the street, means of public transport, I could see that the degree of compliance has increased. I am convinced that a civic attitude is required here because we cannot control everything, let's be honest. The Police, the Gendarmerie, ANSVSA, the State Control Inspection for road traffic control, the DSPs cannot control everyone’s actions. Ultimately, it is also a matter of individual responsibility and participation of all institutional actors or companies in compliance with the rules. Why? For example, when you go to IKEA everyone follows the rules. But why in some restaurants all the waiters wear masks, the physical distancing rules are observed, and in others, these rules are not observed? So, obviously, it largely depends on the responsibility of the company, of the institution that in some public institutions the rules are observed, and in others, not. All employees in public institutions must know that there will be checks because I have found out that there are public institutions where the employees do not comply with the rules, and checks will be organized systemically. Because, from my point of view, employees, civil servants and those in public institutions must be the most responsible, an example for their fellows. Thank you.

          



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