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Romania in corona time: as of 15 May, things are loosening up again

When a state of emergency was declared in mid-March and the president started ruling by military ordinance (because that was now the term), many a Romanian became distressed. It was agreed that strict measures would only help if they were firmly enforced. With the state of emergency expiring on 15 May, people are holding their hearts.

The situation in Romania

Relatively speaking, Romania is in better shape than other countries. There have been about 1,000 deaths up to mid-May, and images of overcrowded hospitals have failed to materialise. Yet not much needs to happen or healthcare will still become overcrowded. Systemic corruption, overly tight budgets and negligence mean that everything is missing in the fight against this virus. Relatively many hospital employees have become infected because they did not have protective aprons and suits at their disposal, procedures are instituted ad hoc and changed again, and people with the right acquaintances are continuously put ahead in the fight for good care. Of course, most doctors and nurses are doing their best, but dozens have also suddenly called in sick.

The state of emergency means that extensive measures have been taken to maintain law and order. Schools are closed until autumn (children are taught online), parks are closed, and if you go out, you must carry a statement saying where you are going and what you are going to do. Only essential pursuits are allowed, walking or jogging in your own neighbourhood is fortunately one of them.

The consequences of non-compliance

If people resist and do not comply with quarantine measures, as happens here and there in gypsy neighbourhoods across the country, and a number of people get sick, the army comes and closes the whole neighbourhood to prevent further spread. Violations are punished with high fines that can run into the thousands (lei). After the Constitutional Court declared these fines unconstitutional, things spontaneously got a lot more crowded in the city. With the announced date for loosening restrictions approaching, the spirit of freedom is out of the bottle. It remains to be seen whether the authorities can get it back in, should the need arise.

By: Johan Bouman
Photo: Wikimedia