Romanian Government



Thursday, 09 September

Press briefing by Prime Minister Florin Cîţu and the Head of the Department for Emergency Situations, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Raed Arafat, at the end of the Cabinet meeting of September 9, 2021


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Florin Cîţu: Good afternoon. Today’s Cabinet meeting was a special meeting, dedicated to the adoption of the Government Decision on extending the state of alert on Romanian territory for another 30 days. We are still in the pandemic, we see that the number of people infected with COVID-19 is growing every day, and therefore, we maintain the state of alert. Further details will be presented by Secretary of State Arafat. There are no changes compared to what we have had so far, except that regarding the antigen tests, we extend their validity from 24 to 48 hours. Mr Arafat will explain the details. I had a discussion in the Cabinet meeting with the interim Minister of Health, and Mr Arafat, we need to be prepared to increase the number of beds in ICU, to return slowly, gradually, to what we had in winter, and to speed up the vaccination campaign. To make sure that the vaccination centres have functional flows and will remain so in the future. Now that we have had the budget revision approved, we need to make sure - and we have talked to the Ministry of Health - that payments will be made to the staff at the vaccination centres as soon as possible because we need everyone in this period. We will further have talks with Mr Arafat and Mr Cseke Attila, interim Minister of Health, in the next days, and I think that on Saturday, we will have a discussion with the prefects on the start of the school year, and with DSU and DSP staff to see how we can best prepare it. In the same Cabinet meeting, we approved decisions on removal from office and appointment of prefects. Here are the details: there are 42 decisions, 14 prefects and 28 subprefects, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs will issue 14 ministerial orders to take over responsibilities. We do not appoint other prefects or sub-prefects, responsibilities will be taken over, the situation remains the same, just like with the secretaries of state, no one is appointed in those offices, vacancies remain and some of the responsibilities will be taken over. If there are questions, one question at a time, please. The "Educated Romania" Ministerial Committee is underway and I need to get there. Tomorrow, you know, we have the government decision on implementing the "Educated Romania" program.

Reporter: Mr Prime Minister, who exactly will take over the duties of these prefects, in the situation where we are in a pandemic and the prefects have played an important role?

Florin Cîţu: Subprefects.

Reporter: And why don't you make other appointments?

Florin Cîţu: At this moment we do not make other appointments, the sub-prefects took over, they were also involved in this campaign every day and know exactly the situation.

Reporter: Both you and your party colleagues mentioned the vaccination campaign and said that the culprits for the fact that the vaccination campaign no longer works during this period, are those from USR PLUS. However, at the moment we know that CNCAV deals with the vaccination campaign, and this is under your authority.

Florin Cîţu: We should look for solutions, not culprits. I said from the first moment that I would like everyone to get involved in the vaccination campaign. I find it hilarious to be in a government and say that this vaccination campaign because it is coordinated by the prime minister, belongs to the prime minister. No, it is our vaccination campaign, of all of us and we should all be in. What I said is that the vaccination campaign will be difficult in the next period, when a party like USR legitimizes an anti-vaccination party and brings it to the stage of politics in Romania and legitimizes it. It will be very difficult to convince the Romanians that the message of the anti-vaccinists is not a dangerous one when they stand next to those who until yesterday were in the ruling act. I said that the next period will be a difficult one, but this does not stop us. We should further understand: the only solution to overcome the pandemic is vaccination. We have no other solution, therefore, we should get vaccinated.

We have all the vaccine doses, we have the flows ready, so that everyone, the staff can be paid on time. We will use all the methods. The programs that we have already agreed with our former colleagues from USR will go on, also the one with the lottery, and the one with the incentive systems. I agreed with them, we will not stop them, because they are all important. 

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